New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to file an affidavit on the steps taken for appointment of Lokpal. The affidavit has to be filed by 17 January.

“Too much time has gone by. What steps have you taken till now?", the court said while expressing displeasure over delay in the selection process by the elected government.

Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal told the court that many steps had been undertaken since September to set up the Lokpal.

The top 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.

In September, the Centre constituted an eight-member search committee led by former supreme court judge, justice Ranjana Prakash Desai to recommend names for chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body.

Other members of the search committee include former State Bank of India (SBI) chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A. Surya Prakash. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) head A.S.Kiran Kumar, former Allahabad high court judge Sakha Ram Singh Yadav, and former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.

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 17 January.

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