Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, former Supreme Court judge, is likely to be appointed as the country’s first Lokpal, governments. According to the reports, the Selection Committee, comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker and an eminent jurist, finalised Justice Ghose’s name in a meeting on Friday. The government is expected to make the official announcement regarding Justice PC Ghose’s appointment by next week.
Justice Ghose was one of the leading names shortlisted earlier by the Lokpal Search Committee.
Following a tenure of around four years, Justice Ghose retired from the Supreme Court in May 2017. He is presently a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The appointment has come through five years after the Lokpal Act was notified for effecting a panel of ombudsmen to look into cases of corruption and maladministration by public servants.
Though the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was notified in early 2014, no one has been appointed as the Lokpal till now. The Supreme Court, hearing a PIL filed by the NGO Common Cause in the matter, has been asking the government to make the appointments. Advocate Prashant Bhushan represents the NGO in the case. On January 17, the Centre was pulled up by the top court for the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal.
As per the law, the Lokpal will have the authority to probe complaints against current and former Prime Ministers, Union Minister, members of Parliament, government employees and employees of public sector undertakings. He or she would also have the power to investigate employees of non-governmental organisations receiving more than Rs 10 lakh a year in foreign contributions.
The Lokpal is expected to work along with the Central Vigilance Commission and can order any investigating agency, including CBI, to probe allegations of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act.