After a short discussion with Justices R. Banumathi and Navin Sinha on the Bench, Justice Gogoi began to pass a short order, recording that the government affidavit was “wholly unsatisfactory” and the competent authority should file a second affidavit with all the details of what it has done in the appointment process.

At this point, Mr. Venugopal said the court may make it clear what “details” it wanted from the government in the second affidavit

Justice Gogoi then tersely went on to record Mr. Venugopal’s request and the court’s reply in the very same order. It said Mr. Venugopal “suggested” the court should “lay down” the details the government has to include in its second affidavit. Refusing the AG, the court responded that “We do not feel the necessity” to guide the government on what it should or should not include in its affidavit.

The court asked the government to file the affidavit in four weeks. The court has for the past several months been constantly urging the government to complete the Lokpal appointment.

Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the 16th Lok Sabha.The 2013 statute includes the LoP as a member of the selection committee.

The Act intends the LoP to be the part of the selection committee of the PM, the CJI and the Speaker, which has to first appoint an eminent jurist among their ranks. However, on April 27 last year, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, clarified that the Lokpal appointment process need not be stalled merely due to the absence of the LoP.

The judgment had dismissed the government’s reasoning that the Lokpal appointment process should wait till the 2013 Act was amended to replace the LoP with the single largest opposition party leader.

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