M.P. Lokayukta appointed a day before polls, reveals RTI
The post of Up-Lokayukta (Deputy Lokayukta) in Madhya Pradesh’s anti-corruption watchdog was created and subsequently filled a day ahead of the announcement of Assembly polls by the Election Commission, documents obtained under the RTI Act show.
Within three days, the whole process of appointment — from writing a letter to the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, seeking the nomination of the suitable candidate, to finally approving the appointment — was completed, the documents received in response to an RTI query filed by transparency activist Ajay Dubey reveal. Transparency activists have raised their voice at the “lightning speed” with which the appointment was processed.
“The appointment of UpLokayukt was made within three days. It was done a day ahead of the announcement of Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh. Why did the government think of filling the post towards the end of their tenure,” asked Dubey.
According to the documents, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had written to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice on October 3, 2018, seeking the name of a suitable candidate for the post.
On the same day, the High Court chief justice replied to the CM’s communique and recommended sitting judge, Justice Sushil Kumar Palo, who was due to retire on November 1, for the post, the documents show.
On October 5, the State government wrote to Lokayukta Justice NK Gupta, seeking his nod, a statutory requirement, for the appointment, which was received on the same day.
Following which, Palo’s appointment was approved by the government.
As per the rules, Up-Lokayukta shall be appointed after consultation with the Lokayukta, or where a sitting judge of a High Court is to be appointed, the chief justice of that High Court in which he is working shall be consulted.