Former SC-judge to be India's first Lokpal, official announcement soon
Former SC judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose will be India's first Lokpal and an official announcement about the same could be made on Monday, claimed reports. Justice Ghose's name was finalized after the Selection Committee met on Friday. The Selection Committee comprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, and jurist Mukul Rohatgi. Here's more.
Justice Ghose is the son of late Sambhu Chandra Ghose, who was the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. After completing his graduation from St. Xavier's College, Justice Ghose studied law from Calcutta University. He began his career as an advocate in West Bengal's bar council in 1976. In 2013, he was elevated to the top court and retired in 2017.
Justice Ghose gained the spotlight in 2017 when he convicted late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala in the disproportionate assets case. The case had been lying in the courts for 21 years. Along with Justice Ghose, the division bench which pronounced the verdict also included Justice Amitava Roy. Sasikala was ordered to surrender immediately. She is currently in prison.
On March 7, an SC bench, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, asked Attorney General KK Venugopal about government's plans of appointing a Lokpal. Venugopal was given ten days to inform SC about the Selection Committee's meeting and probable names. He had informed the bench that he will ask Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training to convene a meeting of Selection Committee soon.
The leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge was invited for the meeting but he didn't attend. Reportedly, the senior Congress leader was upset that he was designated as a "special invitee" and this would mean that he couldn't participate in the actual selection process.
Though the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed in 2013, no concrete steps were taken in this direction until now. Upset with the inordinate delays in appointing a Lokpal, NGO Common Cause filed a PIL in SC. Renowned lawyer Prashant Bhushan was also part of the PIL. The law gives Lokpal power to probe corruption complaints against former PMs, MPs, and government employees.
Exceedingly happy to see the announcement of LOKPAL. It shall strengthen all anti corruption systems in the country and give a big boost to vigilance work at all levels. Thank #AnnaHazare for having led and persevered for this cause. Jai Hind.— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) March 17, 2019