Why have you not appointed Lokayuktas yet, SC asks 12 States

A view of the Supreme Court building in New Delhi

A view of the Supreme Court building in New Delhi

On February 23, the Centre had told the apex court that the process for appointing the anti-graft ombudsman Lokpal was going on and a meeting of the selection committee, which includes the Prime Minister, will be held soon.

On the day Anna Hazare began an indefinite hunger strike demanding the appointment of a Lokpal and Lokayuktas to probe corruption cases, the Supreme Court sought an explanation from the chief secretaries of 11 states on why they had not appointed a Lokayukta and Uplokayukta despite the enactment of a law in this regard five years ago.

The Bench then proceeded to direct the Chief Secretaries of all the defaulter states to explain as to why they have not appointed a Lokayukta so far.

On the apex court's prodding, however, the Centre has agreed to appoint a Lokpal soon.Upadhyay's petition says it's a constitutional obligation for the executive to establish a Lokpal at the Centre and a Lokayukta in the states.

"The reasons for non-appointment of Lokayukta/ Up-Lokayukta...be also laid before the court in the aforesaid affidavit (s) to be filed by the chief secretaries", the bench directed. The court will hear the matter next on April 12.

At the outset, the bench asked counsel Gopal Shankarnaryanan, appearing for petitioner advocate and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, to apprise it about the states which have Lokayukta and which do not.

Under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, notified on January 16, 2014, the Centre should appoint a Lokpal and the states a Lokayukta each as an anti-graft ombudsman.

However, it is not clear if State of Orissa has appointed a Lokayukta.

"Most of the states have a similar story of clamps on the institution", said the petition. He has said he chose to go on a hunger strike now after Prime Minister Narendera Modi did not reply to his letters on these issues. "And many states have not passed the Lokayukta Act in consonance with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013", he said in his plea.

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