President of India Draupadi Murmu has appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice AM Khanwilkar as the Chairperson of the Lokpal, LiveLaw reported.

The Lokpal is an anti-corruption body that is authorised to investigate corruption charges against top public functionaries including the prime minister, Cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and Group A officials at the Centre.

The present chairperson of the Law Commission of India and three former high court judges, including former Himachal High Court Chief Justice Lingappa Swamy, former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, have been appointed as the judicial members of the Lokpal.

Three former bureaucrats – Sushil Chandra Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Tirkey – have been appointed as its non-judicial members.

According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, the president appoints the chairperson of the Lokpal and its panel members on the recommendation of a selection committee headed by the prime minister.

The decision to appoint Justice Khanwilkar as India’s new Lokpal was made by a selection committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Justice Khanwilkar was a Supreme Court judge between May 2016 and July 2022. He has also served as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Himachal Pradesh High Court and as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

Justice Khanwilkar led the bench that upheld a Special Investigation Team report exonerating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. Other significant judgments that he was part of included the decriminalisation of homosexuality, women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple and the validity of Aadhaar.

He also led the bench that in 2022 upheld the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020. The Act was brought in to regulate foreign funds received by NGOs.

The first Lokpal of India, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, was appointed in March 2019. Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty served as the body’s acting chairperson since May 2022.