Retired Supreme Court judge K.T.Thomas refused to head the Lokpal Committee Search panel on 3 March 2014. He was unanimously chosen to head the Search Panel by the Lokpal Selection Committee on 21 February 2014.
Thomas refused on the ground that Lokpal Search panel will not be able to conduct an independent eminent Lawyer Fali Nariman had also refused to become the part of the Lokpal Search Panel.
Lokpal Search panel was constituted by the Lokpal Selection Committee chaired by Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. The Search panel was constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
The Search panel was mandated to scrutinize and recommend names to the Selection Committee for the post of Lokpal Chairperson and 8 other members.
The Search Committee as constituted comprised of 8 members. The members of the Search panel were Justice K T Thomas, Fali Nariman (senior advocate) S.Y.Qureshi (former Chief Election Commissioner) ,Meenakshi Gopinath (Principal, LSR College), Mrinal Miri (Educationist), Kaki Madhava Rao (ex-AP Chief Secretary), H.K. Dua (Rajya Sabha MP), are the members of the Lokpal Search Panel.
Selection Procedure of the Lokpal
Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 lays down a two-layered Lokpal selection process.
Firstly, Lokpal Selection Committee must set up a Search Committee to shortlist possible candidates for the 9-member Lokpal body including Chairperson. The Selection Committee will comprise of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker, Chief Justice of India or any other Supreme Court judge he may appoint and an eminent jusrist nominated by the President or any member.
Currently the Selection Committee comprises of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Supreme Court Justice H L Dattu (representative of the Chief Justice of India), and jurist P P Rao (the fifth member).
Secondly, Search Committee will finalise and recommend the names to the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee may or may not consider the names for the Lokpal.
Lastly, the Lokpal Selection Committee will forward the shortlisted names for the constitution of Lokpal body to the President of India. Upon receiving the names, President of India will appoint the Chairperson and other members of the Lokpal.
When: 3 March 2014