New Delhi: With the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserving its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking the appointment of a Lokpal, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has no intention of appointing it and making it functional.
"It is obvious that the government has no intention of appointing the Lokpal just as Mr Narendra Modi didn't appoint a Lokayukta in Gujarat for 12 years. Similarly, he has no intention of appointing a Lokpal. In fact, they are destroying the Anti-Corruption Act, they have not notified the whistle blower law which also came more than three years ago. They have brought a disastrous amendment in the Prevention of Corruption Act," Bhushan told ANI.
"Today, the attorney general on behalf of the central government said that that today the Lokpal cannot be appointed because the present Lokpal Act says leader of opposition is one of the members of the selection committee and he said that the speaker has not recognised anyone as leader of opposition because no opposition party has minimum 55 percent in the Lok Sabha," he added.
He further said that the selection committee could have been constituted, the appointments could have been made even without the speaker formally designating anyone as leader of opposition.
"There is no law which says that opposition parties must have at least 55 percent member to be leader of opposition.therefore this could have been easily done," he added.
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking the appointment of Lokpal in the country.
During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the Lokpal cannot be appointed in the current scenario as amendments regarding the definition of the Leader of Opposition in the Lokpal Act was pending in Parliament.
As per the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha will be part of the Lokpal selection panel. At present, there is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. He said that the Congress, the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, lacks requisite number of MPs. Therefore, the Leader of Opposition post was not granted to it. "Unless the proposed amendment making Leader of the Largest Opposition party as Leader of Opposition is passed by Parliament, the Lokpal can't be appointed," Rohatgi said.
Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, said that even though the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Parliament in 2013 and came into effect in 2014, the Lokpal is not being appointed by the government deliberately.
As per the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha will be part of the Lokpal selection panel. At present, there is no Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.