Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose on Saturday took oath as India's first Lokpal. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the Oath of Office to him at a ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were present at the ceremony. Justice Ghose is the most senior member of the National Human Rights Commission, having been a part of it since June 2017. The selection was made weeks after the February-end deadline set by the Supreme Court. Former Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) chief Archana Ramasundaram, ex-Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, Mahender Singh and Indrajeet Prasad Gautam have been appointed as non-judicial members of Lokpal.
Delhi: Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose with PM Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi after taking oath as the first Lokpal of India pic.twitter.com/f5BeIaVmYq— ANI (@ANI) March 23, 2019
According to reports, his name was finalised by the selection committee, comprising the prime minister, chief justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker and an eminent jurist, last week. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, a member of the Lokpal selection panel, had boycotted its meet last week when the name of Justice Ghose was approved.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the Lokpal search committee to recommend by February end a panel of names to appoint the country's first anti-corruption ombudsman. The top court had asked the Centre to make available requisite infrastructure, manpower, secretarial assistance and other necessities to enable the committee to commence its work immediately and conclude the search within the timeframe.
The appointment has come through five years after the Lokpal Act was notified for effecting a panel of ombudsmen to look into cases of corruption and maladministration by public servants.
The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the prime minister and has as its members -- the Lok Sabha Speaker, leader of the opposition in the Lower House, Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.