President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday administered the oath of office to former Supreme Court Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal, PTI reported. The oath ceremony took place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Ghose was appointed the Lokpal on Tuesday. Former Sashastra Seema Bal chief Archana Ramasundaram, former Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, Mahender Singh and Indrajeet Prasad Gautam were named the non-judicial members of Lokpal. The judicial members are Justices Dilip B Bhosale, PK Mohanty, Abhilasha Kumari and AK Tripathi.
Ghose, who retired as Supreme Court judge in May 2017, was a member of the National Human Rights Commission when he was appointed to the Lokpal’s position. His name was recommended and cleared by a high-level selection committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports said.
The appointment comes over five years after the former United Progressive Alliance government passed the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The Lokpal Act provides for an anti-corruption panel that will supervise cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants.
In September, the Centre had named an eight-member search committee, led by Desai and also comprising former State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya and Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash.
On January 17, the Supreme Court had asked the Lokpal search committee to recommend names for the office by the end of February. 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. The Centre initiated the process to fill the long-vacant posts of chairperson and members of anti-corruption ombudsman on January 30.
According to the rules, the applicant to the post of chairperson of the Lokpal must be a former chief justice of India or a Supreme Court judge. The applicant for the post of a member should be a former Supreme Court judge or a chief justice of a High Court.
The applicant must be at least 45 years of age. The rules also state that at least 50% of the members of the Lokpal should be persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes and women.