UP Lokayukta: Apex court slams Akhilesh govt for failing to come up with name

Court has asked UP govt to provide 5 short-listed names for Lokayukta post.

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday failed to meet the Supreme Court deadline to appoint Lokayukta even after two rounds of marathon talks, which failed to come up with a consensus name.

After a five-hour long meeting of three-member selection committee that ended around last midnight failed to arrive at a conclusion, talks resumed this morning at the residence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

But even that meeting, lasting two hours, failed to come up with a name despite Supreme Court order that the state government should submit a compliance report by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the apex court again slammed the state government for not appointing Lokayukta despite its order and asked it to provide 5 short-listed names for the post.

The selection committee comprising the Chief Minister, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court D Y Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Swami Prasad Maurya will meeting once again this evening.

"Our effort is that a name is finalised today itself so that there is no dispute later on. Therefore, we have decided to have another round of meeting at 5 PM, by when we expect some consensus will be reached," Maurya told reporters after the meeting.

On December 14, pulling up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said, "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?"

"We don't mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda... you make the appointment by Wednesday," it said, fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.

Earlier in the day, the Governor told reporters that the state will have a new ombudsman tonight as a meeting had been convened this evening to hammer out the issue.

The last meeting of the selection committee held on September 27 to appointment new Lokayukta remained inconclusive with High Court Chief Justice questioning the validity of the process after a Bill was passed in the state Assembly.

HC Chief Justice Chandrachud was of the view that as a Bill was passed in the state assembly, deciding name of Lokayukta could amount to its contempt. He suggested to take a legal opinion for the same.

The UP Assembly had passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.

The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker.

Before this, the Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the government to suggest a name for new Lokayukta by August 23 after which the government finalised the name of former justice Raveendra Singh Yadav and sent it to the Raj Bhawan for the first time on August 5.

The state government and the Governor have not been on the same page on Yadav's nomination and the file recommending his name moved back and forth nearly half a dozen times between Raj Bhawan and the state government.

The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh's proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party.

The bill is still awaiting the Governor's assent. With no consensus over his name, Yadav had opted out of the race for the key post by sending a letter to the chief minister.

( Source : PTI )
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