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Ex-top court judge Justice PC Ghose tipped to be country's first Lokpal

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Retired Justice Chandra Ghose is said to be in active consideration for appointment as the country's first Lokpal, the anti-ombudsman, officials said Sunday.

Justice Ghose, 66, retired as in May 2017. He is a member of the (NHRC) since June 29, 2017.

His name for the post is understood to have been in active consideration by the selection panel headed by Narendra Modi, officials said, without citing further details.

There was no official announcement of his appointment by the

His appointment, if made, may trigger a political storm as had boycotted the selection panel's meet on Friday.

The law, which envisages appointment of a at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of against certain categories of public servants, was passed on 2013.

The development comes a week after the asked K K Venugopal to inform it within 10 days about a possible date for meeting of the selection committee.

A bench of and Nazeer and was on March 7 informed by Venugopal that the headed by former apex court has recommended three panels of names to the selection committee for appointment of chairperson, judicial and non-judicial members in the anti-graft body.

The had told the bench that he will ask the of the and Training to ensure that the meeting of the selection committee is convened as early as possible.

The top court had refused to pass directions to disclose names in the three panels.

Following the court's proceedings, a meeting of selection panel was held on Friday.

The Supreme Court had on January 17 set up a February-end deadline for the Lokpal to send a panel of names who could be considered for the appointment as its and members.

A person who is or has been the of or a Supreme Court judge is eligible for appointment as Lokpal.

According to rules, there is provision for a and a maximum of eight members in the Lokpal panel.

Of these, four need to be judicial members.

Not less than 50 per cent of the members of the Lokpal panel shall be from amongst the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women, the rules say.

Upon selection, the 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 will be same as that of the of

The members will be paid salary and allowances same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.

The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the and has as its members -- the Lok Sabha Speaker, of the opposition in the lower house, the Chief Justice of or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the or any other member.

had nominated former of India Mukul Rohatgi as "eminent jurist" as the member of the panel against the vacancy arising following the death of P P Rao.

of in Lok Sabha had been invited in the past meetings of the selection panel as a "special invitee".

However, he had been refusing to attend the meeting since February last year arguing that there was no provision for a special invitee to attend such a meet.

In a recent letter to Modi, he alleged that the has not made any attempt to amend the relevant provisions of the Lokpal Act to include the leader of the single largest party in the opposition as a member of the selection committee.

There is no leader of opposition or LoP in the current Lok Sabha.

A party should have at least 55 seats or 10 per cent of the strength of the Lok Sabha for its leader to get the LoP status.

The is the single largest opposition party in the lower House but its leader could not be given the LoP status as it does not have the requisite number to qualify for it.

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

First Published: Sun, March 17 2019. 18:20 IST