Published On: Tue, Jul 23rd, 2019

SC stays HC order stalling appointment of 2 members to Tamil Nadu Lokayukta

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the Madras High Court order which stalled the decision to appoint two non-judicial members to the state Lokayukta on grounds of political considerations and the holding office of profit. The high court, in its interim order on April 5, had stayed the appointment of M Rajaram, a member of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), and K Arumugam, AIADMK advocates wing functionary and a public prosecutor.

Supreme Court today stayed the Madras High Court order which stalled the decision to appoint two non-judicial members to the state Lokayukta on grounds of political considerations and the holding office of profit.

“The High Court appears to have erred,” the apex court said while staying the decision of the high court. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state government, said Rajaram had retired as member of the TNPSC long before the vacancy in the Lokayukta came into being.

Similarly, Arumugam had quit the party before the vacancy of members arose in state ombudsman, he said and drew the attention of the court to the records to that effect. The high court, while staying the appointment of the two members to the state Lokayukta, had made it clear that there was no bar on the Lokayukta to start functioning with its chairman and other members.

The state government, on April 1, had issued a notification saying that retired high court judge P Devadass is the chairperson of the 5-member Lokayukta. Former district judges K Jayabalan and R Krishnamoorthy are the two judicial members and retired IAS officer M Rajaram and advocate K Arumugam are the two non-judicial members of the anti-corruption body.

Petitioner R Rajendran, who had sought the quashing of the appointment of the two, had contended before the high court that a TNPSC member could not be appointed to the anti-corruption body as per norms, and alleged political considerations behind the selection of Arumugam to the post. The appointment of Arumugham violated the doctrine of public trust, he had claimed, adding that if such persons were allowed to be members of the Lokayukta, the body would only be an extension of the ruling party.

The plea had alleged that the TNPSC member and a party functionary cannot be appointed as members to the lokayukta.

PTI

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