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SC refers to earlier Bench plea on appointment of UP Lokayukta

The plea challenging appointment of Justice Virendra Singh, a former judge of Allahabad High Court, as Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta was on Monday referred by the Supreme Court to a bench which has been hearing various petitions on the issue. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi said the fresh plea also needed to be heard by the same bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi which had earlier appointed Justice Singh as Lokayukta.

The court had on December 16 last year had exercised its constitutional authority and appointed Justice Singh as Lokayukta, saying the constitutional functionaries-- the Chief Minister, the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court--had failed to comply with its orders by not appointing the chief of the state’s anti-graft ombudsman.

The Supreme Court had heard the fresh plea filed by Sachidanad Gupta during the winter vacation. The plea alleged that the SP government had “concealed facts” about Justice Singh and “played fraud” upon the apex court. The state government had also told the court that it will not go ahead with the oath taking ceremony of Justice Singh as Lokayukta till the apex court had heard the fresh plea.

During the hearing, lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Gupta, were on Monday allowed to bring on record the communication between the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of the High Court on the issue of selection of Lokayukta. The court will now hear the matter on January 19.

The court had taken note of the fresh plea which alleged that immediately after the appointment, the Chief Justice of the High Court had written a letter to Governor Ram Naik expressing his displeasure with the state government for not disclosing the facts that he had some reservations on Singh’s name. The plea seeks a direction for quashing of the December 18 order of the government appointing Justice Singh as Lokayukta. The fresh plea has said, “The State Government has violated the essential condition of rule of law by neither apprising this court of the correct facts and also not approaching this court to apprise it of the true facts even after the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court had expressed that the name of Justice (Retd.) Virendra Singh/Respondent No.3 had been dropped by the Chief Minister himself.
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