Earlier applications invalid, all need to apply afresh for becoming chief, members of Lokpal: Govt
Earlier applications received in response to a 2014 advertisement for the posts of chairman and members of Lokpal have become invalid as the term of the previous search committee has ended and all aspirants need to apply again, officials said. A decision in this regard was taken during the second meeting of the Lokpal search committee held here on Wednesday.
"The committee also took note of earlier applications received during the term of previous search committee and decided that as the term of the earlier committee had ended, these applications are not valid. Interested persons may apply afresh if they are eligible," a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said. The panel has decided to hold its next meeting on February 25, 2019.
The government had in January 2014 sought the applications for the appointments of chairman and members of Lokpal. However, the process was later stalled due to some legal infirmities, the officials said. After forming the search panel afresh in September last year, the government started the process of setting up of the Lokpal again.
The search committee held its first meeting on January 29. Following which, the Ministry of Personnel had on February 6 issued a fresh advertisement seeking the applications for appointments in the anti-corruption ombudsman.
The Supreme Court had on January 17 set up a February-end deadline for the Lokpal search committee to send a panel of names who could be considered for the appointment as its chairman and members by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee. For the appointment as the chairman, a person who is or has been Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge is eligible to apply, according to the latest advertisement.
Besides this, individuals with "impeccable integrity and outstanding ability" having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters related to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, and law and management are eligible to apply. Those with less than 45 years of age are not eligible to apply.
According to rules, there is a provision for a chairperson and a maximum of eight members in the Lokpal. Of these, four need to be judicial members. "Not less than 50 per cent of the members of the Lokpal shall be from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women," the advertisement seeking the applications reads.
Upon selection, the chairperson and members shall hold office for a term of five years or till they attain 70 years of age. The salary and allowances of the chairman of the Lokpal will be same as that of the Chief Justice of India. The members will be paid salary and allowances same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
It has has former chief of State Bank of India (SBI) Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) head A S Kiran Kumar as members. Besides them, former Allahabad High Court judge Sakha Ram Singh Yadav, former Gujarat Police head Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala, retired IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre Lalit K Panwar, and former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar are the other members of the panel.
The Lokpal Act, which envisages establishment of the anti-graft body, Lokpal, at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed in 2013. The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the prime minister and has as its members -- the Lok Sabha Speaker, leader of the opposition in the lower house, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had been invited in the past meetings of the selection panel as a "special invitee". President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi as "eminent jurist" as the member of the panel against the vacancy arising following the death of senior advocate P P Rao.
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