Supreme Court raps Uttar Pradesh govt for not appointing Lokayukta

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.

Akhilesh Yadav

“Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?,” the bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said.

“We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said while fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16. The bench was critical of the submissions made by the Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh that the needful would be done shortly.

“Last time also, you had said the same thing,” the bench said.

The bench was hearing the pleas filed by Mahendra Kumar Jain and lawyer Radhakant Tripathi seeking a direction to the state to appoint the Lokayukta at the earliest in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders. The apex court, on December 4, had issued notice to the state government on a separate plea asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of its order to appoint a new Lokayukta in the state.

On April 24, last year, the court had upheld the constitutional validity of amendment in UP Lokayukta Act for fixing eight-year tenure for the anti-corruption ombudsman. It had also directed the state government to take steps for selecting new incumbent of Lokayukta Justice (retd) N K Mehrotra within six months.

The apex court had in July this year taken note of a contempt petition alleging non-compliance of its on April 24, 2014 order and directed the state to do the needful within 30 days.

The contempt plea, filed by Sachidanand Gupta, had alleged disobedience by the state government. Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Gupta, had said that the state administration needed to be issued contempt notice for its brazen defiance of the orders. Justice Mehrotra was appointed as Lokayukta on March 16, 2006 for six years and later, the government granted him a two-year extension by amending the Act under which the tenure was extended to eight years or till a successor took over.

While upholding the constitutional validity of the amendment to the UP Lokayukta Act, the court, in 2014, had directed the state government to take steps to select a new ombudsman within six months.