In an attempt to push the appointment of Lokpal before the general elections, the government has fast-forwarded the process to put in place the selection panel that will appoint the Lokpal. It pins its hopes on a meeting scheduled for February 3 where the names for the selection panel will be discussed.
The Indian Express has learnt that names of six distinguished lawyers have been shortlisted under the category of “eminent jurist”.
The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50 per cent shall be judicial members and the rest shall be from among SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women.
The selection committee has to have Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. A fifth member of the selection committee for selection of Lokpal has to be nominated under the category of “eminent jurist”. These four members will co-opt the fifth member under this category.
So far, names of six jurists have been doing the rounds for selection as the fifth member. These are Soli Sorabjee, Fali S Nariman, K Parasaran, K K Venugopal, Harish Salve and Attorney General G E Vahanvati.
Sorabjee and Parasaran are former Attorneys General of India while Nariman is a distinguished constitutional jurist.
Salve is a former Solicitor General of India. Venugopal is also a constitutional expert and has been conferred a Padma Bhushan. Vahanvati’s is the latest name to be shortlisted after the government pushed for his case, according to sources.
Appointment of the eminent jurist assumes great significance, for he may tilt the balance towards one side or another in case of a tie. The government on January 18 invited applications for appointment to the post of chairperson and eight posts of members of the anti-graft watchdog.
Four posts are reserved for judicial members and hence a letter seeking nominations of eligible officers had been sent to the Registrars of Supreme Court and the high courts.