SC invokes special powers: Appoints UP Lokayukta

16 Dec 2015 | By Vaneet Randhawa

The Supreme Court invoked its special powers and appointed justice Virendra Singh, former judge of the Allahabad high court, as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.

It also expressed its disapproval of the way constitutional authorities had failed to appoint him on their own.

The court said that it was "unimpressed" by Kapil Sibal's remarks that serious efforts had been made by the UP government.

In context: The UP Lokayukta appointment row

The Lokayukta of UP

The Lokayukta is the ombudsman who heads the anti-corruption body which maintains vigil on "high offices of ministers and top officials". He is selected by a committee involving "the CM, the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC."

Introduction What is the UP Lokayukta row?

The Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav wanted to appoint an ex-high court judge Ravindra Singh as the Lokayukta.

However, Allahabad HC Chief Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud did not accept this recommendation as he was unwilling to certify Singh's integrity and rectitude.

Ravindra Singh was appointed without consulting the Chief Justice who wrote to the Governor saying protocol had not been followed.

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Amendment to increase tenure from 6 to 8 years

On 16 March 2006, Justice Mehrotra was appointed as Lokayukta for UP for 6 years and the government awarded him a two-year prolongation by amending the Act under which the tenure was lengthened to 8 years or till a successor took over.

24 Apr 2014SC upholds amendments in UP Lokayukta Act

The Supreme Court sustained the constitutional legality of the amendment in the UP Lokayukta Act.

By SC's order, the tenure that was contended would remain 8 years.

By accepting this, SC accepted the 2-year extension of the previous Lokayukta's tenure.

However, the bench directed the UP state machinery to elect the new Lokayukta and up-Lokayukta according to the norms and provisions of the Act.

26 Aug 2015UP Governor sends back Lokayukta file

The Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik returned the file in the Lokayukta case for the fifth time and asserted that he was not obliged to accept the Cabinet's proposal.

The Governor directed Akhilesh Yadav to assign "any other name except Justice (retd) Ravindra Singh, after following due procedure."

The Governor in his letter also said that "constitutional requirement of discussion was not fulfilled legally."

4 Dec 2015Lokayukta row: SC issues notice to UP government

A notice was issued to the Uttar Pradesh government by the SC questioning "why contempt proceedings should not be initiated" against it for not upholding the Apex court's order to appoint a new Lokayukta in UP.

It commanded the state government to take measures for electing a new "incumbent of Lokayukta Justice (retd) N K Mehrotra within six months."

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SC gives a stern reminder to UP government

On 14 December 2015, the SC in a firm reminder asked the UP state government to appoint the Lokayukta by 16 December.

15 Dec 2015UP government holds meeting to appoint Lokayukta

After being reprimanded by the SC for UP government's failure to appoint a Lokayukta, the top brass of UP convened a marathon meeting to settle the issue.

The select committee that attended the meeting comprised of the UP CM, Swami Prasad Maurya - Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice Allahabad High Court D.Y Chandrachud to appoint the new Lokayukta.

16 Dec 2015SC invokes special powers: Appoints UP Lokayukta

20 Dec 2015SC defers swearing-in of UP Lokayukta

The SC deferred the oath taking ceremony of the UP Lokayukta over allegations that the state government defrauded the SC by appointing Jutice Virendra Singh as Lokayukta.

Sources said that the appointment was made despite strong objections by D Y Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.

Justice Chandrachud wrote to UP Governor Ram Naik, expressing displeasure over the appointment despite his objections.

28 Jan 2016SC gives UP a new Lokayukta

The Supreme Court has invalidated the choice it had made for the Lokayukta (ombudsman) for Uttar Pradesh in December 2015, and has chosen a new deputy for the post today.

The apex court said Justice Virendra Singh will be substituted by Sanjay Mishra, also a former judge of the Allahabad High Court as the Lokayukta of India's most populous state.