PINAKI Chandra Ghose Sworn In as India’s First LOK Pal

FORMER Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose was on Saturday sworn in as India’s first Chairperson of anti-corruption Ombudsman, Lok Pal, by President Ram Nath Kovind. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The anti-corruption ombudsman comprises four former High Court judges, including a woman judge, and four former civil servants. Kolkata born Ghosh, who started practice as a lawyer in Kolkata, was appointed Judge of Kolkata High Court then Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court elevation to the Supreme Court. The Chair of the   selection Committee Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with 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. Names of  Justice Ghose and other members were finalized and recommended by the Selection Committee to the President of India. 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 also selected other members for the panel. 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 meets. 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. He is an alumnus of Kolkata’s Xavier’s College. His father Sambhu Charan Ghose was Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.  The term of the Lok Pal is five years or till the age of 70 whichever is earlier. The Lok Pal has been given the status of Chief Justice o f India with the same monthly basic salary of INR 2, 80,000. The other Lok Pal members are given status at par with Supreme Court Judges with same basic salary of INR 2, 50,000.

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