New Delhi/Lucknow, Jan 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed Justice Sanjay Mishra, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.
A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C. Pant appointed Mishra as the Lokayukta and recalled the December 16, 2015, order appointing Justice Virendra Singh to the post.
Justice Mishra enjoys a clean track record and image and has no political affiliations known to the public, informed sources told IANS.
The appointment of Justice Virendra Singh as the Lokayukta ran into rough weather, as soon after apex court’s December 16 order, Allahabad High Court’s Chief Justice D.Y.Chandrachud wrote to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik that he had reservations on him and had opposed his appointment on the grounds of integrity.
Recalling its December 16 order and appointing Justice Mishra as Lokayukta, the court referred to an earlier judgment wherein it had accorded “primacy” to the opinion of the chief justice inA the consultative process for appointment of Lokayukta.
Referring to the sequence of events leading to the appointment of Virendra Singh as the Lokayukta on December 16, the court regretted that constitutional authorities — the chief minister, leader of opposition, and the chief justice of the Allahabad High Court — despite prolonged meetings could not decide on a simple issue of the appointment of the Lokayukta.
“It is unfortunate that constitutional/statutory functionaries, inspite of prolonged and extended meetings, continued to have serious differences on a relatively simple issue i.e. appointment of the Lokayukta,” said Justice Gogoi pronouncing the judgment.
The court also noted that the “facts” that were narrated before it prior to the appointment of Justice Virendra Singh were “inaccurate”.
The bench of Justice Gogoi and Justice Pant on December 16 was given a list of five names and was told by the Uttar Pradesh government that on three names that included that of Justice Virendra Singh, both the chief minister and the leader of opposition were in same side with Chief Justice Chandrachud expressing no opinion.
“… we are persuaded to hold that our order appointing Shri Justice Virendra Singh (retd.) as Lokayukta was on the basis of the statement made on behalf of the state of Uttar Pradesh which now appears to be somewhat inaccurate,” the court said in its judgment.
The picture that emanates from the narration of facts, the court said, was “hazy, unclear and uncertain and we are left in serious doubt as to whether the constitutional/statutory functionaries or at least two of them had, at all, agreed on any name or names”.