Justice Shetty unanimous choice for Lokayukta post

Justice Shetty unanimous choice for Lokayukta post

CM dismisses false affidavit charge, to send name to governor

Justice Shetty unanimous choice for Lokayukta post
Former judge of the Karnataka High Court justice P Vishwanath Shetty has finally emerged as a unanimous candidate for the post of Karnataka Lokayukta. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who chaired a high-level meeting, told reporters that he will soon recommend Justice Shetty’s name to Governor Vajubhai Vala to appoint him as the Lokayukta. The post has been vacant since December 2015 when justice Y Bhaskar Rao resigned over charges of corruption and extortion in his office.

Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice S K Mukherjee, presiding officers of both Houses of the legislature, K B Koliwad and D H Shankarmurthy, and Opposition leaders Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa, are members of the consultative committee. All the members supported Justice Shetty for the post. Justice Shetty is 71 years old.

Though it is the discretion of the chief minister to recommend any name, the governor will have the final say in the appointment. The chief minister will also have to send the proceedings of the meeting to the governor. Vala had refused to appoint Justice S R Nayak as the Lokayukta despite the chief minister recommending his name twice.

One of the reasons why his name was rejected was that Justice Nayak faced charges of obtaining a residential plot in Judicial Layout in Bengaluru by submitting a false affidavit. The Opposition leaders, too, had opposed Justice Nayak for the post. Interestingly, Justice Shetty also faces similar charges: he had reportedly obtained a prime plot in the Judicial Layout by submitting a false affidavit. He had reportedly declared that neither he nor any of his family members owned any plot in Bengaluru. But he is said to have owned a plot in RT Nagar.

Sources in the government said Shettar mentioned about the false affidavit at the meeting. But Siddaramaiah dismissed it as trivial and said a majority of the judges in Karnataka have obtained plots in the Judicial Layout. It will be difficult to find the right candidate if such charges are taken seriously, the chief minister is learnt to have said.

Shettar is learnt to have first proposed three names – Justice Shetty, Justice N K Patil and Justice Anand Byrareddy. Justice Mukherjee said he was okay with any of the three. Koliwad also proposed Justice Shetty’s name. Then Siddaramaiah said his choice was Justice Shetty after which both the Opposition leaders supported him.