The Uttar Pradesh government has called a meeting of the Chief Minister, the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice and the Leader of the Opposition on Thursday to discuss probable names for a new Lokayukta, following a long-tussle with Raj Bhavan that had rejected its earlier recommendation after the Chief Justice’s objection.
With the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which drops the High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee, still pending with him, Governor Ram Naik had asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to call the joint meeting to discuss a fresh set of names for the key anti-corruption job. The joint meeting has been called as per provisions in the existing Act.
Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, while talking to The Indian Express, confirmed Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud has been invited to the meeting. Sources, meanwhile, said the new panel has names of around 40 judges retired in the past five years.
Tension between the Samajwadi Party government and the Governor over the appointment of the Lokayukta had escalated when the Assembly recently passed the amendment bill, which was introduced days after Naik turned down the name of Justice (retd) Ravindra Singh for the post of Lokayukta following the Chief Justice’s objection.
The Chief Justice had objected to Justice Singh’s candidature, claiming that he was close to Samajwadi Party and shared dais with its senior leaders. The objection was raised in several letters.
Despite the Chief Justice’s objection, the government sent the recommendation for Justice Singh to the Governor without holding a joint meeting of the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief justice. After government sent the same name to Governor without taking consent of Chief Justice, Governor finally rejected the name on a fourth attempt.
Following this, the government had come out with the amendment bill in the Monsoon Session of Assembly last month.
The selection of new Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh is pending for over one-and-a-half year and a PIL for selection of a new ombudsman is also pending in the Supreme Court.