New Delhi: The centre has set the wheels rolling for the appointment of the Lokpal committee by informing the Supreme Court on Tuesday that a meeting for selecting an eminent jurist on the panel has been called for 10 May.
Attorney general K.K. Venugopal assured the bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi that the Centre was taking the appointment process forward.
Deeming it unnecessary to pass an order at this junction, Gogoi said, “We expect you (centre) to appoint the Lokpal at the earliest and take steps in this regard."
The court was hearing a 2014 contempt petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan-led Common Cause, which challenged the constitutionality of the search committee rules for the appointment of the Lokpal.
Another meeting to discuss the appointment of the Lokpal was convened between the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker and leader of the largest party in opposition on 1 March.
The apex court has repeatedly hauled up the government for failing to appoint a Lokpal. The centre, on its part, has argued that in the absence of a leader of opposition in Parliament, the selection committee could not be constituted.
The largest opposition party, the Congress, has only 44 members in the Lok Sabha, lacking the requisite 10% of 545 seats needed for appointment of a leader of the opposition. This in turn will give rise to the need to amend the Lokpal Act.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed in 2013 to constitute a statutory body to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries. The case will be heard next on 15 May.