Advocates urge Governor to defer appointment of Lokayukta
The Advocates Association Bangalore (AAB) has urged Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj to defer the appointment of the Lokayukta till a constitutionally appointed Chief Justice assumes office in the State.
In a memorandum submitted to the governor on Saturday, the Association has stated that statutory functions cannot be exercised by an incumbent who is only in-charge of an office. “The acting Chief Justice of Karnataka has not been administered oath as Chief Justice of Karnataka and he is not a full-fledged Chief Justice who can exercise statutory functions. Since the process of consultation and appointment of the Lokayukta requires consultation with a constitutionally appointed Chief Justice, the appointment should be deferred,” the memorandum said.
Objecting to former Chief Justice Bhaskar Rao’s being recommended for the Lokayukta post, the memorandum signed by AAB president K N Subba Reddy, general secretary A P Ranganath and treasurer B S Rajshekar said that it was not proper and desirable to appoint a non-Kannadiga as the head of the anti-corruption ombudsman as he cannot converse in Kannada. They said there were many Kannadigas who can be considered for the post.
Pointing out the earlier controversies that led to candidates opting out of the race for the Lokayukta post, the AAB said Justice Rao faced double disqualifications.
It alleged that the former Chief Justice had secured a site from the Karnataka Judicial Employees Co-operative Society as well as from the Bangalore Development Authority. It also alleged that Rao had encroached upon a public road in the Judicial Layout and was forced to vacate the place later.
The Association also pointed out that Justice Rao was 75 years old and had ceased to exercise judicial functions for over 12 years. “It is difficult to expect such a person to handle the onerous responsibility of the office of the Lokayukta at this age,” the memorandum said.
Stating that Justice Rao was a relative of the late prime minister P V Narasimha Rao, the AAB said, “His affinity with the Indian National Congress is evident from the fact that he has been a regular recipient of one or other office... A man with strong political connections cannot be expected to function independently and fairly in a sensitive and statutory post, which can only be handled by an independent and impartial person.”
The AAB appealed to the governor to eliminate the name of Justice Rao from the list of proposed candidates for the post of Lokayukta.