Lokpal selection committee meets, sans Congress leader Kharge

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New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) A meeting of the committee on Lokpal selection was held here on Thursday to choose an eminent jurist on the panel, informed sources said.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the meeting, the outcome of which was not immediately known.

Kharge had declined to attend the meeting as a ‘Special Invitee’, saying he was doing so to protect the “inviolability” of the Lokpal Act as the sacred procedure had been reduced to a political pretence”.

The Congress leader had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convey his stance.

The Centre had informed the Supreme Court last month that a Selection Committee meeting is scheduled on March 1 to deliberate on the steps for the appointment of a Lokpal or ombudsman at the Centre.

The Lokpal Act provides that the Chairman and Members of the Lokpal shall be appointed by a Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge as nominated by the CJI and an eminent jurist to be nominated by the President based on the recommendations of other members of the Selection Committee.

Kharge said the invitation to him was an effort to “exclude an independent voice of the opposition from the selection process”.

He said the government had carried out amendments to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Bill, 2014, to substitute “Leader of Opposition” to “Leader of Single-largest Party” in the Selection Committee but failed to do so in respect of the Lokpal Act.



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