In a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has urged him to send the “panel of names” of candidates for the Lokayukta’s post in the capital. The post of the anti-corruption ombudsman in Delhi has remained vacant since November 2013.
In the letter, sent to the Chief Minister’s Office, Jung has asked Kejriwal to send the list of candidates without delay. The final candidate for the post will only be finalised after the President’s approval, stated the communication.
Jung has urged Kejriwal to accord “utmost priority” to the issue and send a proposal “expeditiously”.
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“It may be noted that for appointment of Lokayukta in respect of NCT (national capital territory) Delhi, prior approval of the President is required. As such it is incumbent on the office of the L-G, Delhi to propose a suitable name after following due process. A proposal thus should be sent expeditiously. L-G has desired that this be accorded utmost priority,” stated the letter.
The communication also mentioned that the Lt-Governor’s office has not received any proposal to the department concerned yet.
“In view of the provisions in law and the previous two communications from this secretariat, it is imperative that a panel of names is sent to this secretariat without any further delay, for formal consultation with the leader of opposition and chief justice of Delhi High Court,” stated the letter.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court had observed that it would be “better” if the government appointed the Lokayukta quickly. The Delhi government had told the court that it was “firmly committed to implementing the Lokayukta Act”.
According to the Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act 1995, the anti-corruption ombudsman is appointed after consultations with the chief justice of high court and the leader of opposition in the legislative assembly.
“The above appointment has been much delayed and this secretariat reminded the government of NCT Delhi on three occasions, the latest being August 28, 2015. I will proceed in the matter as soon as I have formally received a panel of names from the government of NCT Delhi,” stated Jung.
Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly and BJP MLA Vijender Gupta had also attacked the AAP government over the issue.
Gupta had claimed that the government had decided to offer the post of Lokayukta to Law Commission Chairman Justice A P Shah without consulting him and had taken the matter to the high court. Justice A P Shah had subsequently declined the AAP government’s offer.
The high court had then sought a reply from the AAP government on Gupta’s plea, seeking to know why he was not consulted despite being the leader of the opposition.
On August 22, Gupta claimed that the CM, in a communication, had asked him about his choices for the post of Lokayukta.
He claimed that the controversy over the government’s proposal to appoint the Lokayukta without consulting him, had forced Kejriwal to ask for his choices.