India’s First Lokpal Is Former Supreme Court Judge PC Ghose

NEW DELHI: Retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is the country’s first Lokpal, or the anti-corruption ombudsman. His appointment has been cleared by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Former Chief Justices – Dilip B Bhosale, Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Abhilasha Kumari – besides sitting Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Ajay Kumar Tripathi have been appointed as judicial members in the anti-corruption ombudsman, the communique issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

Former first woman chief of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Archana Ramasundaram, ex-Maharashtra chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, former IRS officer Mahender Singh and Gujarat cadre ex-IAS officer Indrajeet Prasad Gautam have been appointed as non-judicial members of the body, it said.

“The above appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices,” the communique said.

The selection was made 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 last week.

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”.

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.

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.

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