Lokayukta post: Govt hushed up Justice Sen's consent withdrawal

CM wants to push Justice S R Nayak's name, says Shettar

Lokayukta post: Govt hushed up Justice Sen's consent withdrawal

The process of consultation to select the Lokayukta seems to have failed to achieve the purpose since the State government has not disclosed former Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen’s letter of withdrawal of consent.

Justice Sen’s letter dated January 7, 2016, obtained under the Right to Information Act (RTI) from the Department of Law, was addressed to the then Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and also marked to Law Minister T B Jayachandra.

The first meeting of the selection panel was held on January 3, 2016. Justice Mukherjee had recommended Justice Sen’s name, which was endorsed by a majority of panel members. 

However, on January 7, 2016, Justice Sen wrote to Justice Mukherjee and Jayachandra withdrawing his consent. 

The e-mailed letter addressed to the Chief Justice stated, “About the same time as when you had asked for my consent for suggesting my name as the Lokayukta of the state of Karnataka, I had also received a call from T B Jayachandra. He had indicated that his party was desirous of proposing my name for Lokayukta, should I convey my consent....It has been reported in the press and the media that the Chief Minister of Karnataka is ambivalent on this issue. This is also the feedback received by me. For this reason alone, after due deliberations, I hereby withdraw my consent.”

With this being the fact, in the second meeting of the selection panel held on January 20, the chief minister did not reveal Justice Sen’s letter. On the application under RTI, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) replied stating there was no such letter with it, while the Law Department issued Justice Sen’s letter. 

Justice Mukherjee and Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa had not attended the second meeting, but sent letters indicating their choice. “In the second meeting, the chief minister read out the letter sent by Justice Mukherjee which again recommended the name of Justice Sen. Myself, Shankaramurthy and Eshwarappa also suggested Justice Sen’s name. Even at this stage, the chief minister did not reveal the letter written by Justice Sen. If Justice Sen had written the letter to the Law Minister, the chief minister should have told the panel members about this. The chief minister has a one-point agenda – to push Justice S R Nayak’s name,” Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said. 
Full text of Justice Sen's letterDear Chief Justice,
About the same time as when you had asked for my consent for suggesting my name as the Lokayukta of the state of Karnataka, I had also received a call from T B Jayachandra. He had indicated that his party was desirous of proposing my name for Lokayukta, should I convey my consent. In view of my tenure as the Chief Justice of Karnataka, I told him that it would be my privilege to dedicate further time for the welfare of the great state of Karnataka. Appointment to positions such as that of the Lokayukta entails very onerous duties, which can only be discharged if there is unanimity in the appointment process. I think it to be anathematic for any person to canvass for such an appointment. It is a matter of honour that the BJP, which is the party in the Opposition, has also immediately supported my candidature for the post of Lokayukta. It has been reported in the press and the media that the Chief Minister of Karnataka is ambivalent on this issue. This is also the feedback received by me. For this reason alone, after due deliberations, I hereby withdraw my consent. I thank you for reposing your trust and confidence in me.
Yours Sincerely,Vikramjit Sen

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