New Delhi, Nov 23: The Supreme Court on Wednesday hauled up the government for not amending the Lokpal Act to recognise the leader of the single largest opposition party in Parliament as the leader of the opposition for constituting the Selection Committee for Lokpal. “For last two-and-a-half years there is no leader of opposition. This position is likely to continue for next two-and-a-half years. There would be no leader of opposition. Will you allow the law to become redundant just because there is no leader of opposition?” asked the bench of Chief Justice T.S Thakur, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. geswara Rao.
Noting the manner government was dragging its feet in amending the Lokpal law for recognising the leader of the largest opposition group as the leader of opposition for forming a Selection Committee, the bench said: “This is an institution intended to bring probity in public life, then this institution must work. We will not allow the situation where the institution is rendered redundant.”
As Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi resisted suggestion from senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, who told the court that the matter could not be left to the political parties and the court should step in, Chief Justice Thakur said: “The law was notified in January 2014 and now we will be in January 2017.”
He told the government: “What you are doing in other ectments, you are not doing in it (Lokpal).” Shanti Bhushan appeared for the petitioner NGO Common Cause that has challenged the Rules for setting up the Lokpal Selection Committee.
Doubting the intention of the government in putting in place the institution of Lokpal, Bhushan wondered what prevented the government from issuing an ordince to say that the leader of the largest opposition party would be treated as the leader of the opposition for the purposes of the Selection Committee. (ians)