Terming the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issuing advertisements for the post of chairman and members of the Lokpal body “illegal”, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the move violated provisions of the Lokpal Act and demanded that the ads be withdrawn. Jaitley wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among other members of the Lokpal Selection Committee to point out how DoPT “usurped” powers of the committee and sought a course correction.
“Whether applications are to be invited or not has to be decided by the Selection Committee. The Union Government is alien to this power. The advertisement issued in this regard is contrary to provisions of the Act,” Jaitley said in a signed article saying “the advertisement which is illegal requires to be withdrawn”.
Jaitley pointed out that the Act vests powers to select members of the Lokpal solely with a selection committee comprising the PM, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him and an eminent Jurist to be appointed by the other four members. Jaitley highlighted that the first four members have not even met to decide the fifth member to complete the selection committee in the first place. “As of today, the Selection Committee has not been constituted. Obviously, there is no Search Committee.
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The Selection Committee has not even formulated the procedure under which it will appoint the Members and Chairperson of the Lokpal,” Jaitley said and added “whether an advertisement is to be issued or otherwise can only be decided by the Selection Committee. The executive has no role to perform in this”.