Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is going to be appointed India’s first Lokpal. The government is expected to make an official announcement on his appointment tomorrow. As per reports, the Lokpal Selection Committee, comprising the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and an eminent jurist have finalised Justice P.C. Ghose’s name in a crucial meeting.
If reports are to be believed, Pinaki Chandra Ghose was one of the leading names shortlisted by the Lokpal Committee. Justice Ghose retired from the Supreme Court in 2017. He is presently a senior member of the National Human Rights Commission.
The Lokpal Act was notified in 2014, but no one has been appointed to the post. The Supreme Court, hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, has been pushing the government to make the appointments to look into cases of corruption and maladministration.
Lokpal is a strong weapon for investigating against top high profile personalises including Prime Minister, Union ministers, MPs, government employees and public servants and others. This new authority will work with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The Lokpal can ask investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate allegations against public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Indian anti-corruption movement, which commenced in 2011 witnessed protests and demonstrations across India for establishing strong legislation and enforcement against perceived endemic political corruption. Meanwhile, the movement gained momentum after activist Anna Hazare began a hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The chief legislative aim of the movement was to alleviate corruption in the Indian government through introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Recently, Hazare accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using him to win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He had alleged that BJP government led by Narendra Modi misled people of the country and of speaking lies over the past four years. Hazare had even threatened to return his Padma Bhushan if government does not keep its promises to ensure Lokpal bill.
Even Anna Hazarehad alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal forgotten the Lokpal movement after entering politics as CM Arvind Kejriwal was one of the important member of the movement.
Meanwhile, Delhi Government led by CM Arvind Kejriwal had also passed Jan Lokpal Bill in 2015 and is still awaiting a green signal from the Centre. The AAP had alleged that the Jan Lokpal is stronger than the Centre’s Lokpal. Former AAP leaders like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan had raised concerns over compromise on ethics for power over Jan Lokpal bill, but both of them were ousted from the party.