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."
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.
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.
SC 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.
UP 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."
Lokayukta 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."
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.
UP 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.
SC invokes special powers: Appoints UP Lokayukta
- 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.
SC 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.
SC 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.