Lokpal panel row: Sushma meets President


Sushma-SwarajNew Delhi: Principal Opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party continues to oppose government’s nominee, senior Supreme Court lawyer Pavani Parameswara Rao, as the chief of anti-corruption body, Lokpal.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee and expressed BJP’s opposition to Rao’s nomination.

In a meeting called at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence on Monday night, the government named the senior lawyer Rao as its choice for the post.

Sushma Swaraj had opposed the candidature saying that Rao had fought some cases for the Centre in court due to which he could prove to be a partisan.

With Parliament session commencing on Wednesday and the Delhi government having cleared the draft Jan Lokpal Bill, the Centre is under added pressure to name the Chairperson of Lokpal ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

The Lokpal is to be selected by a screening committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker and a nominee of the Chief Justice of India.

The chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of the selection committee.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill on January 1, 2014. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and by the Lok Sabha the next day.