‘Restrain government from going ahead with search for Lokpal’

New Delhi, April 17: NGO Common Cause Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the central government not to proceed with the selection process for the appointment of the Lokpal.

Seeking to put in abeyance the entire selection process for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, Common Cause has referred to the April 11 communication by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the members of the selection committee to be available between April 24 – 28 so that a meeting could be held for the appointments.

The NGO has already moved the court challenging validity of the process for the selection of chairperson and members of the Lokpal initiated under the rules framed under the Lokpal Act.

Notice on NGO’s plea was issued to the central government on March 31.

Common Cause has contended that the certain provisions of the the Search Committee (Constitution, Terms and Conditions of Appointment of Members and the Manner of Selection of Panel of Names for Appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal) Rules, 2014 were ultra vires the Lokpal Act and also “illegal, arbitrary and violative of article 14 of the Constitution”.

The NGO has contended that Rule 10 (1) says that provides that the search committee shall prepare a panel of people to be considered by the committee for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal from amongst the list of people provided by the central government directly runs counter to the very object of having an independent Lokpal and the provisions of the Lokpal statute.

The application said that in the course of the hearing of its plea challenging the selection process on March 31, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had told the court that the government was not doing anything for the selection of Lokpal and its members.

Recalling the March 31 court proceedings, the NGO said that in wake of categorical statement by the Solicitor General, the court had said that if petitioner (Common Cause) comes across any move to select the Lokpal and its members, it would be at liberty to approach the court for interim directions.