Sr lawyer Mukul Rohatgi appointed to Lokpal panel: Centre

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The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it has appointed former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi to the post of "eminent jurist" on the Lokpal selection committee.

Last month, incumbent Attorney General KK Venugopal had informed the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi that the process for appointing the Lokpal was underway.

The selection committee is chaired by the prime minister.

Rohatgi was appointed the Attorney General of India on June 19, 2014, soon after the Narendra Modi government assumed power in May. The post has remained vacant since senior advocate P.P. Rao's demise. The 2013 statute includes the Leader of the Opposition as a member of the selection committee.

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To this end, AG Venugopal had intimated that the Selection Committee had met on April 10 to recommend the appointment of an eminent jurist to the Committee.

Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of the Opposition in the 16th Lok Sabha. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 2.

The bench was on Tuesday dealing with a contempt application moved by the NGO Common Cause against department of personnel and training secretary Ajay Mittal for the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal despite an apex court directive in April past year to expedite the process.

Rohatgi had also led a team of lawyers which had participated in the pre-dawn hearing in the apex court to oppose any relief to Yakub Memon, the lone death row convict in 1993 Mumbai blasts case. Before the Supreme Court passed its judgment in 2016, the Central government had maintained throughout that the Lokpal Act can not be enforced without a Leader of Opposition.

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