A week after chiding the Karnataka government over the "inordinate delay" in appointing the Lokayukta, the Karnataka high court on Monday directed it to begin the process of appointment in the next two days.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Aravind Kumar directed Advocate General S Vijay Shankar to ask the state government to begin the process of appointment of Lokayukta from July 25.
The bench rejected the government's contention that the Lokayukta would be appointed after the Supreme Court gave its verdict on a special leave petition challenging the high court's order of quashing the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta.
It observed that the issue pending before the apex court is about the appointment of Upa Lokayukta and the government should initiate consultation on appointing Lokayukta.
On July 16, the bench had pulled up the state government over the "inordinate delay" in appointing the anti-corruption ombudsman and warned that it may have to recommend to the governor that "there is a failure of Constitutional framework in the state" owing to non-appointment of the Lokayukta.
H S Neelakantappa from Chickmagalur district had filed a petition in the court, saying that the BJP government was "deliberately" not making appointments to important positions like the Lokayukta, lying vacant for the last 10 months.
The post of Lokayukta is unoccupied since September 19 last year after former Supreme Court judge Shivaraj Patil, who succeeded high-profile Santosh Hegde, quit in the wake of allegations of getting land allotment in violation of rules.
After Patil's exit, the BJP government recommended the name of former Kerala high court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath but Governor H R Bhardwaj refused to accept it insisting on a "spotless candidate".
As the three-month-long standoff continued, Bannurmath himself opted out of the post in February saying he was hurt by the allegations relating to land allotment.