Nariman Declines to be in Selection Process for Lokpal Posts

New Delhi
Nariman Declines to be in Selection Process for Lokpal Posts

Eminent jurist Fali Nariman has refused to be part of the Lokpal search panel, voicing fears that the best will be overlooked by the multi-layered procedure, a process which was defended by Government today as transparent.

As a row broke out over the selection process for various posts of the anti-graft body, BJP leader Arun Jaitley raised strong objections to the "highly improper" procedure adopted by Government in making key appointments. He also charged the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) with diluting the role of the Selection and Search Committees.

In a letter to V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Nariman said he declines the "honour" to be part of the search committee.

"In my humble view, this is no way in which an institution as vital and as important as the Lokpal is to be constituted.

"The chairperson and members of the Lokpal as ultimately selected may well be projected as democratically chosen by a broad consensus from amongst two levels of selectors (upper and lower), but it is precisely for that reason that I do fear that the most competent the most independent and the most courageous will get overlooked," he said.

Government had offered Nariman to be part of the search committee on February 21.

His name was proposed by a five-member selection panel to be part of the eight-member search committee under the Lokpal Act.

The search committee will scrutinise the applications received for the post of chairperson and eight members (four judicial and four non-judicial) and forward the names to the selection panel.

The selection committee comprises Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Supreme Court judge H L Dattu - a nominee of the Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and jurist P P Rao.

Narayanasamy, who is Minister of State for Personnel, said all procedures had been followed for forming the search committee.

"I would like to make it very clear. Transparent method has been followed. The process was followed very properly. As far as the selection of members of the search committee is concerned, Fali Nariman was one among the jurists who have been considered... It is for the person concerned either to accept or not to accept," he said.

Jaitley, who has written to the Prime Minister on the issue twice earlier, has alleged that the procedure adopted by DoPT is violative of the Lokpal Act in order to rush through the appointments and "pack it".

He said the best people should be appointed to the anti- corruption body and the procedure should be strictly on the basis of the Lokpal Act.

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