Published On: Fri, Aug 21st, 2015

No end to stalemate over UP Lokayukta appointment

Lucknow: The appointment of a Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh appeared to have hit a fresh road block with Governor Ram Naik returning the file recommending Justice (retd) Raveendra Singh’s name to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for the third time in two weeks.

 Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav

There appeared to be no immediate end to the stalemate even as just a day was left for the August 22 deadline fixed by the Supreme Court to make the appointment.

A Raj Bhawan communique said the Governor returned the file asking the government to follow proper procedure for the appointment.

It said that Leader of the Opposition Swami Parsad Maurya wrote to the Governor informing him that the three members of the selection committee — the Chief Minister, Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly — never met to decide the name of the Lokayukta.

Maurya also said he was not aware of what correspondence took place between the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Chief Minister.

The Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the state government to suggest a name after which the Uttar Pradesh government had sent the file to Raj Bhawan.

The state has been witnessing a tug-of-war between Raj Bhawan and the Samajwadi Party government over appointing Singh as the new Lokayukta, with the file recommending Singh’s name being twice returned by the Governor earlier.

The confrontation over the issue was started with the previous governor in the very first week after the Akhilesh Yadav government came to power in 2012, when it had sought to extend the term of the Lokayukta from six years to eight.

The government had its way and the sitting Lokayukta, N K Mehrotra, completed nine years in office.

This time, the government officially recommended Singh’s name on August 5. The file has since gone back and forth thrice.

Naik has made it clear he will not give his assent until the name is cleared in a meeting of the selection committee.

He has also recommended that the selection committee first consider a panel of names rather than directly take an opinion on just one name.

According to legal experts, the confrontation over Lokayukta’s appointment was unprecedented as the state government was not on the same page as the Governor and the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.


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