Bhopal: RTI activist questions prompt appointment of up-lokayukta

BHOPAL: Right to Information activist has questioned the speed in which the appointment of up-Lokayukta took place just before implementation of the Model Code Of Conduct of assembly polls. The documents obtained under RTI show that the post of Deputy Lokayukta was created and filled a day before announcement of assembly polls. It took only three days to complete the process.

Starting from writing a letter to Chief Justice of MP High Court, seeking nomination of the suitable candidate and finally approving the appointment was completed within three days, the documents received through RTI filed by activist Ajay Dubey reveals. “The lightening speed of the appointment process is surprising. It was done a day ahead of announcement of assembly polls.

Why did government think of filling the post of up-Lokayukt towards the end of their tenure,” asked Dubey. RTI activist said that the documents reveal that former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had written to MP Chief Justice on October 3, 2018, seeking the name of a suitable candidate for the post of Up-Lokayukt.

The same day, the Chief Justice replied to the CM’s letter and recommended sitting judge, Justice Sushil Kumar Palo, who was due to retire on November 1. Similarly, the state government wrote to Lokayukt Justice N K Gupta, seeking his nod for the appointment that was received on the same day, on October 5. Later, Palo’s appointment was approved by the government.

In series of surprises, the approval for creation of deputy lokayukta post was sent to the lokayukta’s office the same day. The file was sent to Governor Anandiben Patel for her approval, as per the statutory requirement. Secretary to governor approved the proposal on October 10, according to an order that said it was done after obtaining a no-objection certificate from the Election Commission. Elections were announced on October 6.

‘I am going to challenge the appointment in Supreme Court,’ said Ajay Dubey. He said the central government is yet to set up Lokpal, nearly five years after the Act was passed but here in MP, the government acted with lightening speed to ensure appointment of second Up- Lokayukt ahead of the state elections,” Dubey claimed.

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