Union Government on 30 October 2014 announced to amend the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 and to include the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lokpal Selection Panel.
The bill relating to this will be introduced in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. The bill will amend Section 4(1)(c) of the Lokpal Act.
It will seek to add an explanation to the section, stating that where no LoP in the House of the People has been recognized, the leader of the single largest party in the Opposition can be represented on the selection panel.
The decision to include opposition in appointment of Lokpal, even as there is no recognized Leader of Opposition in the House of the People, is in sync with similar provisions in the Central Vigilance Act, 2003 and Right to Information Act, 2005.
Provisions under the CVC Act and RTI Act
Under the two Acts, the appointments of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioners and that of Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners must be made on the recommendation of a high-powered committee, of which the LoP in Lok Sabha is a part.
However, an explanation to the provisions dealing with composition of this high-powered committee - Section 4(1) in the CVC Act and Section 12(3) in the RTI Act — states that where no leader of the opposition has been recognized, the leader of the single largest opposition party may be deemed as LOP.
Earlier in August 2014, the Supreme Court while responding to a petition expressed concern about the absence of a Leader of Opposition from the Lokpal Selection Panel as opposition conveys a voice different from the government and was therefore crucial.
Who: Leader of Opposition
When: 30 October 2014