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Reva Khetrapal named new Delhi Lokayukta

Reva Khetrapal, a former judge of the Delhi High Court, was on Tuesday named the new Lokayukta of Delhi. The post of the ombudsman had been vacant for nearly two years. The appointment was seemingly becoming another flashpoint between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP government and LG Najeeb Jung, with both rooting for different candidates.

“The appointment of Reva Khetrapal was unanimous,” a Delhi government official said.

Khetrapal will succeed Manmohan Sarin, who retired after completing the tenure in November 2013. The institution of Lokayukta inquires into allegations against public functionaries in the national capital. Khetrapal was the AAP government’s choice while Jung had reportedly proposed the name of former Andhra Pradesh High Court chief justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru. Besides Khetrapal, the Delhi government had proposed the names of retired Orissa High Court chief justice Bilal Nazki and retired Punjab and Haryana High Court chief justice Jasbir Singh. The appointment of the Lokayukta is done after consulting the Delhi High Court chief justice and the Opposition leader in the Delhi assembly. Jung will now recommend Khetrapal’s name to President Pranab Mukherjee. The Kejriwal government had come under criticism for allegedly delaying the appointment. The AAP government says the post of Lokayukta is not effective to battle corruption. It has proposed a Jan Lokpal which can launch a probe against the chief minister too.

On 26 September, last year, the Delhi High Court, while hearing a different PIL on the same issue, had asked the Lieutenant- Governor to initiate the process to fill the post of the Lokayukta, saying statutionary provisions make it mandatory on the part of the state to ensure that the post is filled up “ without any delay”. In major hurdle in appointment of Lokayukta was the role of Opposition leader in Delhi Assembly. The Opposition leader Vijender Gupta had made a submission before Justice R.S Endlaw in September, to add him as a party in the matter. Gupta, in his intervention application, has contended that as per Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act 1995, appoint procedure provides the Leader of Opposition has to be consulted.
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