K.T. Thomas declines to head Lokpal search panel
Retired apex court judge K.T. Thomas, who was named the head of the Lokpal search committee, Monday said he has declined to accept the appointment.
Justice (retd) Thomas told reporters in Kottayam that he has already written to the prime minister's office about his decision.
"A selection committee is in place and the rules are also clear that they need not accept our list. Moreover, I am in Kerala and for me to travel to Delhi for a few times would incur expenses and I feel there is no need for it," he said.
Thomas had served in the apex court for almost six years till 2002.
Senior lawyer Fali Nariman had last month declined to be a member of the panel for selecting India's first ever Lokpal, saying the process was not suitable to choose the most competent or most courageous person.
Nariman had written to the prime minister's office and said he did not think the process was right to constitute the anti-graft ombudsman.
The Bharatiya Janata Party took a dig at the union government over the way it had gone about the selection process for Lokpal.
"Why are top legal luminaries resigning from the Lokpal Search Committee? The government through DOPT (Department of Personnel and Training) has usurped the power of the search committee," BJP leader Arun Jaitley said in a tweet.
Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, in New Delhi, alleged that the Congress wanted to make appointments to the Lokpal during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance government as "their cases" would have come before the anti-corruption ombudsman.
"The manner in which the government has gone about, it is acceptable to none," he said.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, however, said the government cannot be faulted for decisions of individuals.
"These are personal decisions. If there is a structure, people are asked. There can be several reasons for people to say yes or no. How can you comment on the government? Was the structure passed by the government or the parliament," he said.
(Posted on 03-03-2014)