The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Lokpal search committee to recommend names for the office by the end of February, PTI reported. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked the Centre to provide the search panel the infrastructure and manpower to help it complete its work.

On January 4, the top court had ordered the Centre to file an affidavit outlining the steps it had taken since September to appoint the anti-corruption ombudsman. The court had asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to file the affidavit by January 17.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan. He told the court that the Centre has not even put up on its website the names of the members of the search committee.

Bhushan, representing non-governmental organisation Common Cause, had earlier said that the court should appoint a Lokpal as the government had failed to do so for over four years.

In September, the Centre had named an eight-member search committee, led by former Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and also comprising former State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya and Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash. The committee has not yet met even once, News18 reported, quoting the affidavit filed by the Centre.

On Thursday, Venugopal told the court there were some problems such as lack of infrastructure and manpower due to which the search committee was not able to hold deliberations on the matter.

The court will hear the matter again on March 7.