New Delhi , Oct 29 : The Supreme Court Monday was not impressed with the Nagaland government’s submissions in support of amendments to a local law to ensure the chief minister’s role in selection and appointment of Lokayukta, reported news agency PTI.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which was hearing a PIL seeking appointment of an anti-graft ombudsman in every state, had earlier summoned the Nagaland chief secretary to interact on the issue of change in the local law governing selection and appointment of Lokayukta in the state, the report said.
“The state says that it will give a go by to the Constitutional principle then we cannot help,” the bench, which also comprised justices S K Kaul and K M Jopseph, said while expressing dissatisfaction with the response of the chief secretary.
“If your chief secretary does not understand the simple question then we are sorry. We do not have the time,” the report quoted the bench as saying while adjourning the hearing to October 31.
Accordng to the top bureaucrat could not give satisfactory answers to the queries posed by the bench on the amendment to Section 3(2) of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017, bringing in the chief minister as one of the persons who will have a role in the selection of the ombudsman.
Earlier, the bench had said though it did not want to comment on the necessity of an amendment to a statute as it was the prerogative of the legislature, it had summoned the chief secretary to know the reasons for the change in the law.
“We would like to interact with the chief secretary of the state of Nagaland on this aspect of the matter who will be personally present on October 29,” the report quoted the bench as saying .
However, the bench Monday said,”The statement made by the chief secretary of Nagaland before the court seems to be inappropriate. Let the chief secretary file a personal affidavit.”
It further said the presence of the chief secretary was not required further.
The court is hearing a petition, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, which has sought appointment of Lokayukta in every state, the report said.
It has also sought a direction to states to provide adequate budgetary allocation and essential infrastructure for effective functioning of the Lokayuktas.
According to the PIL, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, had received presidential assent on January 1, 2014, and came into force from January 16, 2014, but the executive has not established a Lokpal yet.
The petitioner has alleged that many state governments were “deliberately weakening” the Lokayukta by not providing adequate infrastructure, sufficient budget and workforce.
The apex court has been also dealing with the issue of appointment of Lokayuktas or the anti-graft ombudsmen in 11 other states, including West Bengal, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Odisha.
The top court had earlier asked the chief secretaries of 11 states to specify the reasons for not appointing the anti-corruption ombudsman in the respective states even after the law was enacted in 2013.(Agencies)