HC slaps notice on CM over upa lokayukta

HC slaps notice on CM over upa lokayukta

The fracas over the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the second Upa Lokayukta continued on Friday when the Karnataka High Court issued notice to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.

A division bench comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice Ravi Malimath also issued notices to Upa Lokayukta Chandrashekaraiah, the principal secretary to the governor and the state government. The court’s notices come in the wake of two public interest litigations (PILs) filed by advocates Janikere C Krishna and Ananda Murthy R, questioning Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment.

The petitioners had alleged that the chief minister did not conduct satisfactory consultations in accordance with Section 3(2)(b) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act 1984 and hence the appointment was illegal and in violation of procedures.

They stated that Justice Chandrashekaraiah who was appointed upa lokayukta on January 22 was involved in serious controversies and the appointment was in total ignorance of the law. The petitioners quoted judiciary experts to contend that people involved in corruption and controversies should not be appointed to posts like lokayukta and upa lokayukta.

Counsel for petitioners Navkesh Batra submitted that Justice Chandrashekaraiah, while reacting to the chief justice’s letter saying the state government did not consult him over the appointment of upa lokayukta, had said that the chief justice’s letter was in ignorance of the law.

“This is damaging to the judiciary as well as the Lokayukta institution,” Batra contended.

Pointing out that it was the responsibility of the State government to appoint the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta who were above board and not tainted with allegations or mired in any controversies, the petitioners sought directions to quash the appointment.
The petitioners, as an interim prayer, sought to stay the operation of order appointing Justice Chandrashekaraiah and produce all the records including file notings regarding the appointment of Upa Lokayukta.

Advocate-General Vijay Shankar and Senior Counsel Nanjunda Reddy, who appeared on behalf of the Upa Lokayukta, submitted that the there was no need for the interim order as the Upa Lokayukta had already assumed charge and sought a week’s time to file objections.

During the hearing, the Bench lashed out at one of the petitioners for making the governor one of the respondents in the petition. “How can you make the governor a party? You cannot make fun of the judiciary and tarnish the governor’s image in front of the people. You need to respect the head of the State,” said Justice Kumar.

“The Supreme Court has laid down the guidelines for PIL. You must follow it,” he added. The Bench directed the petitioner to exclude the governor from the petition.

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