SC enforces its right and appoints UP lokayukta

Constitutional functionaries did not discharge their dutes, says angry court

GN Bureau | December 16, 2015



For the first time the supreme court today exercised its powers to appoint a lokayutka named retired judge Justice Virender Singh as Uttar Pradesh's lokayukta.

With a sharp reprimand for the UP government it expressed its disapproval of the way constitutional authorities mandated to appoint the ombudsman failed to discharge their responsibilities.

Noting that its earlier directions for the appointment of lokayukta went unheeded, the apex court bench of justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice NV Ramana "deeply regretted" the "failure if not refusal of the constitutional functionaries" to comply with the court's order.

The court said that it was "unimpressed" by the explanation given by senior counsel Kapil Sibal appearing for Uttar Pradesh that serious efforts were made by the collegium consisting of chief minister, leader of opposition and the chief justice of the high court to decide on a name to be appointed as lokayukta.

Sibal gave five names to the court. There was a consensus between the chief minister and leader of opposition on three names while the chief justice of the Allahabad high court expressed no opinion.

Having recorded this, the court in exercise of its extraordinary powers appointed retired judge of Allahabad high court Justice Singh, who is at present head of the state consumer commission, as the state's Lokayukta.

The Samjawadi Party government has given the present lokayukta, justice NK Mehrotra, multiple extensions, after his term ended more than a year ago. The selection committee made up of Yadav, chief justice of Allahbad high court DY Chandrachud and leader of the opposition in the state assembly Swami Prasad Maurya of the BSP have at their many meetings failed to agree on a name for a new Lokayukta.

After a five-hour long meeting that ended past midnight yesterday, discussions had resumed this morning at the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's residence.

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