Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, former Supreme Court judge, is likely to be appointed as the country’s first Lokpal. Top sources have informed Republic TV that the government is expected to make the official announcement regarding Justice PC Ghose's appointment soon.
Sources informed that the Selection Committee, constituting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi finalised Justice Ghose's name during a meeting on Friday evening.
The notification for the appointment of the Lokpal, as well as selection of eight others as members of the national anti-corruption ombudsman, is expected to be issued soon. It could be made public before the next date of hearing on the matter in Supreme Court, which is slated to be held later this month, sources claimed.
As per the law, the Lokpal will have the authority to probe complaints against current and former Prime Ministers, Union Minister, members of Parliament, government employees and employees of public sector undertakings. He or she would also have the power to investigate employees of non-governmental organisations receiving more than Rs 10 lakh a year in foreign contributions.
Justice Ghose served a tenure of four years in the Supreme Court, before retiring in May 2017. Presently, he is a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Justice Ghose is best remembered for his judgment in the Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case. The judgment, which was passed after the death of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, restored the trial court verdict in toto. Along with Justice KS Radhakrishnan, he ruled that the practices of Jallikattu and bullock cart races to be violative of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
He was part of the 3:2 majority along with then CJI HL Dattu and Justice FMI Kalifulla that held that the state government has no suo motu power to remit sentences of persons who were convicted under a central law in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Justice Ghose also ruled on cases involving political leaders. He was part of the Constitution Bench that restored status quo in Arunachal Pradesh after President’s Rule was imposed in the state last year.
Along with Justice RF Nariman, he directed the trial court to frame charges of criminal conspiracy against BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and others involved in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
He was also part of the Bench that laid down guidelines for publication of government advertisements.