New Delhi :  Noted jurist and constitutional lawyer Fali Nariman (85) on Thursday turned down his appointment on a search committee for selection of India’s first-ever Lokpal, faulting the process of selection as not suitable for choosing the most eligible person.

In a letter to the Prime Minister’s office, he has faulted the two-level process of selection — first, the search committee short listing the names from among the applicants and those recommended; and then the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister making its final choice from the list.

“In my humble view this is no way in which an institution as vital and as important as the Lokpal should be constituted,” Rohinton Nariman, former solicitor general, said quoting from his father’s letter.

The letter says the chairperson and members of the Lokpal, as ultimately selected, “may well be projected as democratically chosen by a broad consensus from amongst two levels of selectors (upper and lower), but it is precisely for that reason I do fear that the most competent, the most independent and the most courageous will get overlooked.”

Nariman is one of the eight members of the search committee, which was constituted following a unanimous selection last Thursday by the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister. Its other members are Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Lok Sabha Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj, Supreme Court Judge Justice H L Dattu and senior advocate Pavani Parameswara Rao.

Former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas, who retired in 2002, heads the 8-member search committee. Other members of the committee are: Former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi, Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi) principal Meenakshi Gopinath, educationist Mrinal Miri, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Kaki Madhava Rao, and senior journalist and Rajya Sabha Member H.K. Dua.

The Department of Personnel and Training has forwarded to this search committee more than 300 applications received for the post of chairperson and eight members (four judicial and four non-judicial) to scrutinise and shortlist the names for the final decision by the selection committee.

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