SC seeks explanation from states including Arunachal on Lokayukta

Staff Reporter
DELHI, March 23: The Supreme Court on Friday sought explanation from chief secretaries of 11 states, in two weeks, on why they have not appointed Lokayukta and Uplokay-ukta, despite enactment of the law five years ago.
The top court asked the chief secretaries to specify the reasons for not appointing the anti-corruption ombudsman in the respective states even after the law had been enacted in 2013.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said from the material brought on record, it appeared that Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh have not appointed any Lokpal, Lokayukta or Uplokayukta.
“The chief secretaries of the aforesaid 11 states shall inform the court within two weeks as to whether steps have been taken for appointment of Lokyukta/Uplokayukta and if so the stage thereof. The reasons for non-appointment of Lokayukta/Uplokayukta in the aforesaid states be also laid before the court in the aforesaid affidavit(s) to be filed by the chief secretaries,” the bench said.
The apex court also asked the 11 states to specify the time period by which they would appoint a Lokayukta as mandated by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. (With input from PTI)

The missed timeline

In August last year, the Pema Khandu Cabinet had had a fixed concrete timeline for getting functional the state Lokayukta by constituting three committees viz, Drafting Committee, Search Committee and a Selection Committee.
The drafting committee was supposed to submit a comprehensive draft rules required for carrying out the provisions of the Act to the government within 60 days while a search committee – members of which will not be state government employees – was to submit a panel of names to be appointed in the Lokayukta to the government within three months.
It was further decided that within a month of the recommendation of the panel, the selection committee headed by the chief minister as the chairperson with leader of the opposition, the chief justice of the Guwahati High Court or a judge nominated by the chief justice and chief secretary as members will recommend the names to the governor for appointment as the Lokayukta chairperson and members.
Despite several attempts by this daily, the office of the chief secretary could not be contacted for comment.