Questions may be raised if Justice S R Nayak becomes Lokayukta

Activists see 'conflict of interest'; ex-chief of SHRC can't hold post, say experts

Questions may be raised if Justice S R Nayak becomes Lokayukta

 Even as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seems to be inclined to have former Karnataka State Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice S R Nayak as the new Lokayukta, his appointment may not be a smooth affair.

While social activists apprehend ‘conflict of interest’ if Justice Nayak is selected, legal experts are of the view that a former SHRC chairperson can’t hold the office of the anti-graft ombudsman.

Samaja Parivartana Samudaya chief S R Hiremath said that Justice Nayak’s site (number 859/C) at Judicial Layout, off Ballari Road in the city, is a civic amenities (CA) site.

Documents show that Subray Rama Nayak (S R Nayak) has got an allotment of site measuring 6,175.5 sq ft by paying Rs 3.7 lakh. The registration had taken place on November 8, 2002.

“As seen from the document, the market value at the time of the registration in 2002 was Rs 13.59 lakh. Moreover, the site is among the 404 CA sites as stated by the BDA. It has stated this in the case filed against the Karnataka State Judicial Employees’ House Building Co-operative Society by the Judicial Employees’ Residents and Site Holders’ Association. However, the judgment in the case is reserved,” Hiremath said.

According to activists, Justice Nayak had bought the site after a division bench of the Karnataka High Court made an observation that “judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court becoming members of a employees’ house building society is beyond imagination.” The activists say the allotment of site to Justice Nayak is in violation of BDA allotment rules and bye-laws of the society.

Activist Ganesh Kaundinya, who has been unearthing illegalities in House Building Co-operative Societies, says that in a recent judgment, Karnataka High Court had ordered that the irregularities in Shantinagar House Building Co-operative Society will be looked into by the Lokayukta.

“A petition was filed before the High Court seeking probe into the irregularities in allotment of sites in Shantinagar House Building Co-operative Society. The writ petition was dismissed recently with an observation that the illegalities in allotment of sites in this society is being enquired into by the Lokayukta and that the Lokayukta will only decide on the complaint. If Justice Nayak is appointed the Lokayukta, then he has to decide on the case of irregularities in allotment of sites in a particular house building co-operative society, when the site allotted to him in another is being seen as illegal,” Kaundinya said.

Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said, “In my opinion, a person is not eligible for any post under the government, including that of Lokayukta, after ceasing to hold office as State Human Rights Commission chairperson or its member.

Though Lokayukta is appointed by the Governor, it is still an appointment of the State government.” 

Petition against Nayak pending in SC

Justice Nayak demitted office as SHRC chairman in 2012 after a five-year tenure. He was appointed Chairman of State Law Commission by the present government in June 2014. A special leave petition challenging Justice Nayak’s appointment as the chairman of the Law Commission is before the Supreme Court.

The petition has quoted sub-section 3 of Section 24 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, which reads, “On ceasing to hold office, the chairperson or a member shall be ineligible for further employment under the government of the State or under the Government of India.”

The Karnataka High Court had dismissed the writ petition.

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