Mallikarjun Kharge refuses to attend Lokpal meet

  1. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has refused to attend the meeting of the Lokpal selection committee as a special invitee.He said that this category does not grant him any rights of participation in the selection process and there is no provision for a special invitee in the lokpal act.
  2. He also said that the government has made no attempt to amend the Lokpal Act to officially include the leader of the single largest Opposition party as a member of the selection panel instead of leader of opposition.
  3. Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha is a part of the selection committee of Lokpal.The second largest party in Lok Sabha should have at least 10% of the total LS seats in order to get the status of Opposition Party.There is no LoP in the current House as no party had acquired 10% seats.
  4. The Government had enacted the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act,2013.The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants,including the Prime Minister.But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
  5. The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means,even while the prosecution is pending.The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  6. The Lokpal consists of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.The chairperson and at least half of the members have to be current or former judges of the Supreme Court or chief justices of high courts.
  7. The search panel setup for lokpal recommends at least five names for chairperson and at least three times the number of vacancies in the case of members.This recommendation has to be placed before the high-power selection committee led by the Prime Minister.The selection committee comprises of (a)Prime minister (b)lok sabha speaker (c)the Leader of the Opposition (d)the Chief Justice of India and an (e)eminent jurist.