A challenge to the constitutional validity of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Acts pending in the Bombay high court (HC) will now be heard in the Supreme court.
Just Society, a group headed by retired justice VR Krishna Iyer, and comprising prominent civil society activists, had moved the apex court to transfer the writ petition from the high court. It will now be heard along with other similar challenges to the new acts, said counsel for the centre, Mohamedali Chunawala.
When the matter came up in the high court on Thursday, the bench noted the September order of the Supreme Court and directed the registry to proceed accordingly.
The Lokpal Act was instituted with a view to eradicating corruption from government and was passed in 2013, following a popular anti-corruption movement led by activist Anna Hazare.
The society has challenged the establishment procedure of the Lokpal, contending that the chief justice or a judge appointed by him, who is part of the selection committee, is also eligible for selection. Further, the selection committee sets up a search committee, but is not bound by its recommendations.
The petition has also pointed to the problems in the establishment of state-level Lokayuktas, saying it doesn’t prescribe guidelines for establishment of the body and the consequences for a state’s failure to do so. These are among the several points against the Act raised in the petition.
Earlier, senior jurist Fali Nariman had declined to be a part of the search committee that would recommend names to the selection committee for constituting the Lokpal, pointing out problems in the selection process. Subsequently, former apex court judge justice KT Thomas also withdrew from the panel.