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Karnataka HC issues notice in a PIL challenging the appointment of Upa Lokayukta

Karnataka HC issues notice in a PIL challenging the appointment of Upa Lokayukta

Rintu Mariam Biju

The High Court of Karnataka has yesterday issued notice in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the appointment of Justice (Retd.) BS Patil as Karnataka Upa Lokayukta.

The PIL states that the order issued by the state’s Governor on November 20 appointing (Retd.) Justice B.S Patil as Upa Lokayukta has been assailed as ultra vires the provisions of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.

The petition points out discrepancies in the consultative process that is mandatory under the Act. The PIL states that Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa committed an error in not consulting the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Abhay Shreeniwas Oka for the appointment of Justice BS Patil as Upa Lokayukta. The petition states that mere informing is not the same as the consultation.

On July 24 last year, then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had addressed a letter to former Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari asking him to suggest eligible persons for the office of Upa Lokayukta. In response, the Chief Justice had suggested the name of former Karnataka High Court judge Justice AN Venugopalagouda as the most suitable candidate for the office.

However, after Justice Oka took charge as the as Karnataka Chief Justice, the Chief Minister asked the new Chief Justice for his recommendation. Justice Oka responded by reiterating his predecessor’s pick and recommended Justice Venugopalagouda for appointment as Upa Lokayukta.

After a change in the state government, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa addressed a letter to Chief Justice Oka on November 12 this year,  informing him that after consulting the other four authorities, it was decided that Justice Patil would be recommended as Upa Lokayukta.

Based on the facts mentioned, the plea prays for declaring that Justice Patil has no authority to hold the public office of the Karnataka Upa Lokayukta.

Since Justice Oka is a consultee in the matter, a Division bench of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice M.Nagaprasanna will be hearing the matter.

Advocate S Basavaraj will appear on behalf of the petitioner.