New Delhi :
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to place before it a copy of the report of a Parliamentary standing committee suggesting amendments to the Lokpal law and wanted to know about the changes required to make the anti-graft ombudsman functional.
“Besides replacing leader of opposition (LoP) with the leader of the largest oppoisition party of Lok Sabha in the selection panel for Lokpal, tell us what are the areas where you (Centre) need to make changes (in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act),” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswar Rao, asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, to file a copy of the report of the parliamentary panel on changes suggested in the statute and fixed the PIL filed by NGO ‘Common Cause” for further hearing on December 14.
At the outset, Rohatgi said he had conveyed the views of the court to the highest authority that it “cannot go on like this” and assured the bench that the process would be “expeditied”.
He said besides substituting LoP with the leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha in the law, there was the need to bring more changes.
Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said the Lokpal law has been passed after a long struggle and the government is doing nothing to make it funcitonal.
“Here is a law which was enacted three years ago after a long battle. It is the duty of the government and the court to ensure that the law is enforced,” Shanti Bhushan said.
The Attorney General opposed the contention that the leader of largest opposition party in Lok Sabha can be regarded as LoP with regard to the Lokpal Act.
As per the provision, the largest opposition party has to have 10 per cent of total number of MPs in Lok Sabha to claim the post of LoP and. The amendment to this effect has been pending with Parliament, he said.
Earlier, the court had pulled up the Centre over delay in appointment of Lokpal, saying it should not allow the law to become a “dead letter”.