Justice Pinaki Ghose on Saturday took oath as the first Lokpal of India — the national anti-corruption ombudsman. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were present on the occasion. The former Supreme Court judge’s appointment comes five years after the Lokpal Act received the President’s nod on January 1, 2014.
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A high-level selection committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, the panel’s “eminent jurist member”, cleared Justice Ghose’ name at its meeting on Friday.
Justice Ghose was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in March 2013 and retired in May 2017. Before being appointed as Lokpal, he was a member of the National Human Rights Commission.
Former Chief Justices of different high courts — Justices Dilip B Bhosale, Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Abhilasha Kumari — besides sitting Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Ajay Kumar Tripathi were appointed as judicial members in the Lokpal.
Former first woman chief of Sashastra Seema Bal Archana Ramasundaram, ex-Maharashtra chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, former IRS officer Mahender Singh and Gujarat cadre ex-IAS officer Indrajeet Prasad Gautam are the Lokpal’s non-judicial members.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which envisaged the setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas for the states, to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries was enacted in 2013 and received Presidential assent on January 1, 2014.
But the appointment was delayed due to various reasons. Subsequently, the matter came before the Supreme Court, which in April 2017 termed the 2013 Act an “eminently workable” piece of legislation.