PINAKI Chandra Ghose Set to Be LOK Pal

FORMER Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is likely to be the country’s first Lokpal or the anti-corruption ombudsman. The other members of the Lokpal would include four former High Court judges, including a woman judge, and four former civil servants. Kolkata born Ghosh was Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court before moving to SC and Justice of Kolkata High.  Media citing sources said the selection Committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and ex-Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi picked him weeks after the February-end deadline set by the Supreme Court. Justice Ghose’s name was finalised and recommended by the Selection Committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a couple of days ago. Passed in 2013, the Lokpal Act involves the setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants. The panel to choose the candidates — headed by the prime minister — includes the Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition in the lower house, the Chief Justice of India or any judge of the Supreme court he nominates, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member. President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Mukul Rohatgi, a former Attorney General, as the ”eminent jurist”.However, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had refused to attend the meetings after he was designated a “special invitee” saying it does not allow him to participate in the selection process. He had skipped the last week meeting as well. The selection committee is expected to include the Leader of the Opposition. In absence of the post following the Congress’s poor show in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, rules for the appointment of the CBI chief have been amended to include the Leader of the Largest Opposition Party.

Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi tweeted: “Exceedingly happy to see the announcement of LOKPAL. It shall strengthen all anti-corruption systems in the country and give a big boost to vigilance work at all levels. Thank #AnnaHazare for having led and persevered for this cause. Jai Hind.”Justice Ghose was appointed as the judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1997 and elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.As the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, he had convicted Sasikala, the live-in companion of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, in a corruption case. Born on May 28, 1952, justice Ghose is a law graduate from the University of Calcutta. According to the National Human Rights Commission’s website, he has been associated with many activities of the Ramakrishna Mission. The fifth generation of the family, is an alumni of Kolkata’s Xavier’s College. His father Sambhu Charan Ghose was Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.

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