Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar appointed new Lokpal chief

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-02-2024 23:14 IST | Created: 27-02-2024 23:14 IST
Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar appointed new Lokpal chief
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Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar was on Tuesday appointed as the chairperson of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal, nearly two years after the post fell vacant.

President Droupadi Murmu also appointed former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Ritu Raj Awasthi, who is at present the chairperson of the Law Commission of India, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Lingappa Narayana Swamy and former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Sanjay Yadav as the judicial members in the Lokpal.

Former civil servants Sushil Chandra, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Tirkey have been appointed as the non-judicial members in the Lokpal, according to a communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.

These appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices, it added.

The Lokpal has been functioning without its regular chief since Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose completed his term on May 27, 2022.

Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, a judicial member of the Lokpal, is currently the acting chairperson of the anti-graft ombudsman.

Justice (retired) Khanwilkar, aged 66 years, served as a judge of the apex court from May 13, 2016 to July 29, 2022.

He was part of several constitution benches of the apex court which delivered important judgements.

One of the landmark verdicts was the September 2018 judgement in which the top court held as ''irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary'' section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalised consensual gay sex. He was in a constitution bench that had declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions, including linking it to bank accounts, mobile phones, and school admissions.

Justice (retired) Khanwilkar was also part of the apex court verdict that upheld the Special Investigation Team's clean chit to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots case.

Born in Pune, Khanwilkar had also been Chief Justice of the High Courts of Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The chairperson and members of the Lokpal are appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of a Selection Committee having the prime minister as its chairperson. Apart from a chairperson, the Lokpal can have eight members -- four judicial and as many non-judicial. Law Commission chief Awasthi headed the Karnataka High Court between October 11, 2021 and July 2, 2022.

He was part of a three-judge bench verdict that had upheld the ban on hijab in the state's educational institutions.

Justice (retired) Swamy was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh on October 6, 2019. He retired on June 30, 2021.

Justice (retired) Yadav was Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court from June 13, 2021 to June 25, 2021.

Chandra, who has been named non-judicial member of the Lokpal, worked as the Chief Election Commissioner between April 13, 2021 and May 14, 2022.

Kumar, a 1986-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, retired as the Chief Secretary of Gujarat in January last year.

Tirkey, a 1987-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, served as the Land Resources Secretary till his superannuation in December last year.

A Lokpal chief and members are appointed for a term of five years or until attaining the age of 70 years.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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