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‘People’s Movement has Won’: Anna Hazare on Proposed New Lokpal

Author : Prasant Kumar | Posted on: 2019-03-18

“I welcome the decision of appointing the country’s first Lokpal. The people’s movement for it, going on for last 48 years now, has finally won,” Anna Hazare told reporters as per PTI. 

The Selection Committee for Lokpal is believed to have cleared the decks for appointment of country’s first Lokpal. A report in news agency IANS said that the high-powered committee has reportedly decided to appoint the retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as anti-corruption ombudsman of India. His name was reportedly actively considered by a panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official told the agency, refusing to divulge further details. However, there is no official confirmation yet on his appointment by the government.

It said that the decision was taken during a meeting of the committee on Friday. The meeting was attended by committee members Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi.

Justice Ghose had retired as a Supreme Court judge in May 2017 and since then, he has been serving as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

However, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sri Mallikarjun Kharge had skipped the meeting. He refused to attend the meeting as a ‘special invitee’ and not as the Leader of Opposition (LoO) in Lok Sabha, as only the LoO in LS is another member of the selection committee. It must be noted that in order to be statutorily recognised as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or in Rajya Sabha the concerned law passed by the Parliament has to be followed.

According to the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 which defines the term "Leader of the Opposition" as that member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha who, for the time being, is the Leader of that House of the Party in Opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised, as such, by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. However, in order to get formal recognition, the concerned party must have at least 10% of the total strength of the House (55 seats in the Lok Sabha and 25 seats in the Rajya Sabha). If any party fails to get 10% seats in opposition, the House will not have recognised leader of the opposition. A single party has to meet the 10% seat criterion, not an alliance.

Since Congress does have only 44 members in the lower house there is no formal Leader of Opposition. This thing the Congress resents since the formation of Lok Sabha in 2014. In fact, the Congress has also gone to Supreme Court earlier with this plea but to no avail. Kharge even wrote a letter to PM Modi alleging government did not amend the Lokpal Act to include the leader of the single largest Opposition party as a member of the Selection Committee instead of the LoO as defined under the 1977 Act. He also noted that nothing stops the government from appointing a Lokpal even if a leader of Opposition is not there. Besides, he reminded PM Modi that he had objected to be invited as a special invitee at least on six previous occasions.

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sambita ghadei
well done Modiji, u r great. Namo Namo. Next 15 years you should remain our PM at least.
bishnu charan gobardhan
Modi govt is not good at checking corruption, otherwise he would have appointed the Lokpal much before.
anshuman mahanta
Modi govt took five years to appoint a Lokpal after much dilly-dallying. very unfortunate.
ajit mohanty
Very informative news new item. love to read Odisha Today.
kulamani behera
Very informative news report. Let us see how the new Lokpal functions about which there has been a lot of controversy and fanfare .
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