Rohatgi joins Lokpal selection panel

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The Central Government informed the Supreme Court today that former Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as the eminent jurist on the Selection Committee tasked with appointing the Lopkpal.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that a decision was taken on May 11 appointing Rohatgi as an eminent jurist in the selection committee, chaired by the Prime Minister. He resigned from the post in June 2017. He had quit in June a year ago.

Besides the Prime Minister, the selection committee is composed of the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The bench was on Tuesday dealing with a contempt application moved by the NGO Common Cause against department of personnel and training secretary Ajay Mittal for the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal despite an apex court directive in April previous year to expedite the process.

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Taking note of the Centre's submissions, the court noted that more than an year had passed since its April 2017 order.

"However, having regard to the fact that the selection committee comprises of high constitutional functionaries, we do not consider it appropriate to pass any direction for the completion of the process of appointment of Lokpal within a particular time frame", the bench said. The court will take up the matter on July 2.

Non-appointment of the Lokpal has been a contentious issue. This stance was reiterated by the apex Court past year as well. Before the Supreme Court passed its judgment in 2016, the Central government had maintained throughout that the Lokpal Act can not be enforced without a Leader of Opposition.