Current Affairs

Lokayukta Appointment: HC rejects Petition, RTI Activist to approach SC

With the Bombay High Court at Goa yesterday rejecting Adv. Aires Rodrigues’s petition, the legal challenge against the appointment of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy as Goa’s Lokayukta is now set to move to the Supreme Court.  

Reiterating that Sudershan Reddy’s entire selection and appointment process as Lokayukta of Goa was unlawful and not in accordance with law, Adv. Aires Rodrigues has today stated that he would move the Supreme Court next week to test the validity of the order passed yesterday by a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice A.P. Lavande and Justice U.V. Bakre.

The Bombay High Court at Goa in its order yesterday while upholding Adv. Aires Rodrigues’s locus to file the petition as well as its maintainability, had however ruled that there was no infirmity in the decision making process culminating in Sudershan Reddy’s appointment as Lokayukta of Goa.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his petition to the High Court had submitted that the Goa Government instead of requesting the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to recommend names for the post of Lokayukta had high-handedly and unlawfully appointed a search committee headed by Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni to select the Lokayukta.

Adv. Rodrigues had submitted that the Chief Minister and the Advocate General being public officials who could be probed by the Lokayukta, that they could not be party to the selection of the Lokayukta as it amounted to an accused choosing his own Judge.

Pointing out that Sudershan Reddy was selected as Lokayukta by an unlawful search committee appointed by the government which was headed by Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni, Adv. Rodrigues had in his petition stated that the Lokayukta being a quasi-judicial authority, the selection and appointment had to be on the basis of the doctrine of separation of powers, with the primacy vested in the Chief Justice.

Adv. Rodrigues had in his petition further alleged that the entire selection process was not transparent as the intention of the Government was to select and appoint a Lokayukta of the choice of the ruling party and of its Chief Minister.

Adv. Rodrigues further submitted that the consultation  process by the Chief Minister with the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court and the Leader of the Opposition was not a meaningful consultation as required by law but was reduced to a mere formality and a glaring eye wash. 

It may be recalled that Justice Sudershan Reddy was sworn in as Lokayukta of Goa on 16h March this year amidst public protests. All the Opposition parties boycotted his swearing in ceremony which was held at Raj Bhavan and was also not attended by many Ministers and ruling party MLAs.

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