Justice Nayak tipped to be new Lokayukta

Justice Nayak tipped to be new Lokayukta

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday stood by his stand to appoint Karnataka Law Commission Chairman, Justice S R Nayak, as the new Lokayukta.

The exercise of sending the State government’s recommendation to Raj Bhavan for approval of Governor Vajubhai Vala is a mere formality as Siddaramaiah announced Justice Nayak’s name at a meeting of the high-level committee constituted to select the anti-corruption ombudsman, in Bengaluru.

Besides the chief minister, the committee comprises Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court S K Mukherjee, Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy, Leaders of the Opposition in the two Houses of the legislature Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa. Justice Mukherjee and Thimmappa did not attend Friday’s meeting but sent letters indicating their choice.
Siddaramaiah had the “last word” in the appointment of Justice Nayak even as Shettar, Eshwarappa and Shankarmurthy favoured former Supreme Court judge Justice Vikramjit Sen for the post of Lokayukta.

Eshwarappa said they pointed out that Justice Sen had a clean image and had impeccable credentials. It was also pointed out that there were controversies surrounding properties owned by Justice Nayak. 

However, Siddaramaiah said the government had decided on Justice Nayak for the post and officially announced his name. 

Shettar said he questioned the need for Friday’s meeting if the government had made up its mind. “The chief minister told us that he was following procedure. The selection panel was only a consultative body”, Shettar said. The meeting lasted only 15 minutes.

The post of Lokayukta has been lying vacant since December last year following the resignation of Justice Y Bhaskar Rao. 

The government favouring Justice Nayak for Lokayukta had generated a heated debate in the public domain, with some activists accusing Nayak of committing irregularities in connection with the allotment of a site by the Karnataka Judicial Employees Housing Cooperative Society. 

The governor had thrice rejected the choice of Justice K L Manjunath for the post of Upa Lokayukta. 

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