Guv withholds consent to Justice Nayak as Lokayukta

Guv withholds consent to Justice Nayak as Lokayukta

Governor Vajubhai Vala has withheld his consent to the state government’s recommendation to appoint Justice S R Nayak as the Lokayukta.

The Siddaramaiah government, in February, had recommended the name of Karnataka Law Commission chairman Justice Nayak (in pic) for the post of Lokayukta despite four members of a six-member committee, formed to select the anti-corruption ombudsman, opposing his choice.

It is learnt that Vala, in his three-page letter which reached the government on Monday, has raised certain questions on the recommendation. Replying to queries from the media on Tuesday as to whether the governor had “rejected” the government’s recommendation, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Kolar said, “I have not seen the letter sent by the governor’s office as I was in Ballari to monitor drought relief work on Monday.”

According to legal experts, the governor cannot directly reject the government’s recommendation for the post of Lokayukta, but Raj Bhavan can always ask the government to reconsider, citing reasons, or keep the file pending by not signing.

In March this year, Governor Vala had sought clarification from the government on allotment of a residential plot in Judicial Layout in Bengaluru to Justice S R Nayak.

An NGO, in a petition to the governor, had accused Justice Nayak of flouting rules to secure the site. Besides the chief minister, the Lokayukta select committee comprises the Chief Justice of the High Court S K Mukherjee, Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, Council Chairman D H Shankaramurthy, leaders of the Opposition in both Houses, Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa.

Siddaramaiah and Thimmappa had favoured Justice Nayak. But Justice Mukherjee (through his letter), Shankaramurthy, Shettar and  Eshwarappa favoured former Supreme Court judge Justice Vikramjit Sen. Yet, the government had recommended the name of Justice Nayak.

The governor, in his letter, it is learnt, had raised questions whether due process of consultation had been followed.

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