Fill post of Lokayukta within three months, HC tells govt

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Panaji: The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday directed the state government to fill the now vacant post of Goa Lokayukta within three months.

The High Court was hearing a petition over the alleged failure of the government to initiate the process for selecting the new Lokayukta despite knowing that Lokayukta Justice (retd) P K Misra was due to retire on September 17.

Advocate General of Goa Devidas Pangam informed the HC that communication has been sent to the registrar of the Supreme Court seeking names of candidates who are eligible and willing to be appointed as Lokayukta; it is required by law that the post be filled by a retired SC judge or a retired High Court chief justice.

The HC in its order observed that taking into consideration the mandate as well as the purpose of enactment of the Lokayukta Act, the vacancy has to be filled as expeditiously as possible so that the institution of Goa Lokayukta functions in the state. 

The court  order directed the government to take effective steps to fill the post of Lokayukta as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within three months from Wednesday.

While drawing the attention of the court that the Goa Lokayukta Act was enacted to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokayukta to inquire into grievances and allegations against public functionaries in Goa, lawyer Aires Rodrigues in his petition stated that despite being fully aware that the Lokayukta was due to demit the office on September 17, the government had done nothing to start the process to look for the next Lokayukta.

Rodrigues alleged that it appears that the state government was not keen to appoint the next Lokayukta so as to give public officials a freehand to indulge in acts of corruption and maladministration.