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'Process of appointment of Karnataka Lokayukta has begun'

August 03, 2012 17:56 IST

The Karnataka High Court was on Friday informed that the state government has begun the process of appointing the Lokayuktya, a post which is lying vacant since September last year.

Advocate General S Vijay Shankar made this submission before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen when the PIL filed by H S Neelakantappa came up for hearing.

The court then adjourned the matter to August 10.

In his PIL, the petitioner had submitted that the state government was "deliberately delaying" appointment of the most important position of Lokayukta, though the post has been lying vacant for nearly a year.

He pointed out that the Lokayukta had played a major role in fighting graft and had brought to book many corrupt officials and politicians by arresting them.

Neelakantappa had stated that despite Governor H R Bhardwaj expressing concern over non-appointment of Lokayukta, the government remained 'adamant'.

He prayed that the respondents (the government represented by the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister) be issued a writ of mandamus, directing them to appoint Lokayukta forthwith without any delay.

The post of Lokayukta has remained vacant 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 his exit, the BJP government recommended the name of former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath, but the Governor refused to accept it insisting on a "spotless candidate".

On July 23, the Karnataka high court had directed government to begin the process of appointment and rejected its 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 appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta.

It had observed that the issue before the apex court is about appointment of Upa Lokayukta and the government should initiate consultation on appointing Lokayukta.

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