May 16, 2018

Govt appoints Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi as 'eminent jurist' in Lokpal panel

Mukul Rohatgi

On May 15, Former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as 'eminent jurist' in the high-profile Lokpal selection committee led by the Prime Minister. The committee will shortlist candidates for appointment as the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi about the development.

The filling of the slot of eminent jurist is a significant step in the appointment process of Lokpal as per the statute. Rohatgi has served as India’s 14th Attorney General from June 2014 to June 2017.

The post of eminent jurist in the committee has been lying vacant since Senior Advocate P.P. Rao passed away in September 2017.

Non-appointment of the Lokpal has been a contentious issue. Before the Supreme Court passed its judgment in 2016, the Central government had maintained throughout that the Lokpal Act cannot be enforced without a Leader of Opposition.

It was hearing a contempt petition filed by NGO Common Cause, which had raised the issue of non-appointment of the anti-graft ombudsman despite the apex court’s verdict of April 27, 2017, when the Court had made it clear that the existing Lokpal Act is a workable piece of legislation and there was no justification to keep its operation pending.

Notably, it was AG Mukul Rohatgi who had made submissions for the Centre in these hearings.

The bench, on hearing the submissions, posted the matter for further hearing on July 2, 2018.

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