New Delhi, July 24: Expressing displeasure over non-appointment of a Lokpal the Supreme court on Tuesday rejected an affidavit filed by the central government in the matter.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Bhanumati and Navin Sinha asked the centre to file a fresh affidavit within four weeks.
“Having perused the affidavit all that we are inclined to say is that we are wholly unsatisfied and do not accept it. Let a fresh affidavit be filed within four weeks”, the apex court said.
At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appearing for centre told the court the meeting of the selection committee held decided to set-up the search committee and in the next meeting they would suggest names for the search committee.
Venugopal said that the process would take time as people to be included in the search committee have to be expert in law, finances, fighting corruption and other areas.
Besides this, he also informed the court that after finalising the names for the search committee they will be vetted by the Intelligence Bureau and it is a time-consuming process.
Accusing the Centre for dragging its feet in not carrying out the legislative mandate to appoint anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan for NGO Common Cause, told the court that in last four and half years the selection committee has only senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi in the category of eminent jurist.
He said only option available to the court is either initiate contempt proceedings against the people who are involved in delaying the entire process or take recourse to Article 142 of the Constitution and in the exercise of its powers appoint a search committee and then appoint a Lokpal from the names recommended by the search panel.
Earlier on July 17, the top court had asked the Centre to expeditiously shortlist names for appointment as Lokpal after the Attorney General submitted that the selection committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting on July 19.
“Let’s begin on an optimistic note. We do not wish to issue a mandamus. We hope that the selection and search committee will expeditiously finalise the names. Let a report be filed next Monday. We shall take up the matter on Tuesday”. Justice Gogoi had said.
Following the July 19 meeting, the union government filed an affidavit in the Lokpal appointment matter.