New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday called “unsatisfactory” a report filed by the central government after the July 19-meeting of the Lokpal Selection Committee, which comprised the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, heading the bench, told Attorney General KK Venugopal that the affidavit filed by the Centre was unsatisfactory and that it has again refrained from giving a timeline on appointment of the Lokpal.
Justice Gogoi was responding to the affidavit filed by the government to apprise it of the progress made in July 19-meeting of the Selection Committee.
The meeting was attended by PM Modi, CJI Dipak Misra, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi.
The high-power committee had met to constitute the search committee, which will shortlist names for Lokpal and other members and then recommend them to selection committee for final approval.
On July 17, the bench had expressed its “optimism” that the search committee will be constituted in the July 19-meeting and a time frame will be also be laid down for shortlisting of the names.
But the affidavit disclosed that on July 19, only a decision was taken that the members of the selection committee will recommend the names for the persons who should constitute the committee.
Not only the search committee was not formed — as expected by the court, there was no time frame given as to by when the recommendations have to be made and when will the committee be set up.
The affidavit further did not specify a date for the next meeting of the selection committee and concluded by saying that the next meeting would be held as per the convenience of the PM and its other members.
On Tuesday, the bench thus expressed its dissatisfaction over the pace of the progress made and asked the government to file a fresh affidavit on four weeks, specifying a time frame within which each step in the process of Lokpal's appointment can be completed.
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the PIL petitioner and in the contempt plea against the Centre, implored upon the bench to issue a judicial order for appointing Lokpal.
He said that the government had been dragging its feet for more than four years now and that it was high time that the Supreme Court exercises its authority under the Constitution to appoint the Lokpal and fulfill the statutory requirement.
The court said that his submissions will be considered on the next date of hearing.