Three ex-judges of SC among 16 applicants for Lokpal's post

New Delhi: Three ex-Supreme Court judges, a former high court chief justice, one UGC member and an information commissioner are among 16 persons who have applied for the chairmanship of proposed anti-corruption body Lokpal.

The list, which has been made public by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) after an order of Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava on the plea of Subhash Agrawal, shows the Supreme Court had nominated Justices Gyan Sudha Mishra, C K Prasad and Balbir Singh Chauhan, who have now retired, for the position.

Retired Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court M Karpaga Vinayagam, who is Chairman, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, former UGC member and former Information Commissioner M M Ansari, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu are also among those who have applied for the post directly.

Teacher Arun Ganesh Jogdeo, social workers Chandra Bhushan Mishra and Chappidi Venkateswara Nana Rao, journalist Gulshan Kumar Bajwa, advocate Viney Bhushan Bhatia, steel company employee Anjani Kumar, Magha Ram Prajapati of 'Professional and Spiritual Persuit', retired IAS Ram Sajiwan, ex-IPS K Nandabalan, Deepak Kumar of 'Competitive' are among the other applicants for the post.

Ram Sajiwan's application was received after the deadline ended and was forwarded by the Madhya Pradesh government. In his directive for disclosure of names of applicants for various positions in Lokpal, advertised by DoPT, Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava had said the disclosure would enhance transparency and public confidence in the selection process.

"It is only when the names of the candidates for such sensitive post are disclosed that the public can bring up various facts, which may or may not have been disclosed by the candidates, to the notice of the Selection Committee.

"This would enhance public confidence in the selection process. Moreover, it is desirable that the entire selection process should be transparent," he had said. DoPT had sought applications for one post of Chairman and eight positions -- four each for judicial and non-judicial members -- in the anti-graft body on January 17, 2014.

In response to the 2014 advertisement of DoPT, 380 persons have applied for the post of non-judicial members of the proposed body which include former Chief Secretary Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Lone, former CIC Satyananda Mishra, former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, former Special Director, CBI K Saleem Ali, former SSB DG Arun Chaudhary and former BSF DG Subhash Joshi, among others.

According to the details given under the RTI response, 23 people have applied for the posts of judicial members. The Lokpal Act, 2013 provides for establishment of the anti-graft watchdog for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption complaints against public servants.

An amendment bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 18, 2014 after which it was referred to a parliamentary standing committee on December 22 which was asked to submit its report by March 25, 2015.

The fate of the applicants will depend on the new search committee which will be constituted once an amendment bill to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 is passed by Parliament.

"Nothing is altered by the present amendment except the membership of the search committee. The committee may decide to consider those who have already applied or to call for fresh applicants," Congress MP E M Sudarsana Natchiappan, heading the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, told PTI.

The panel had got its first extension till July 30, 2015 to complete its task. Later, it had sought more time and got two more extensions, which ended on September 30 and November 15, 2015. It was again given more time till December 10, 2015.

The committee tabled its report on December 7, 2015, suggesting some crucial changes in the 2013 Act.

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