Centre Gets 10 Days to Tell SC About Lokpal Appointment

The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Centre, directing it to spell out a specific time frame within 10 days for appointment of Lokpal. The Apex Court has instructed the central government to file an affidavit within the stipulated period, detailing the exact steps it is likely to take in the Lokpal appointment.

A two-judge bench, comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi, sought a response from the government regarding when it would make the appointment. Replying to the query, Attorney-General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, apprised the court that a meeting of the panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was likely to take place soon.

The bench was hearing a Common Cause contempt petition, which had raised the issue of Lokpal non-appointment despite the Apex Court's verdict last year. It is to be noted that the petition filed by Common Cause for appointment of Lokpal was disposed by the SC on April 27, 2017. It had held that the Lokpal and Lokayutas Act, 2013, as it stands today, was a perfectly-workable legislation. Hence, the government had no justification in suspending the act’s enforcement till the amendments, as proposed, were carried out. The government had failed to appoint the Lokpal even nine months after the judgment. Hence, a contempt application, seeking the initiation of contempt proceedings against the executive, for wilful and deliberate failure to fully comply with the aforementioned judgment of the Apex Court was filed by Common Cause.