The Hindu

SC notice on Nagaland plea against Lokayukta

State seeks removal of the ombudsman

- Legal Correspond­ent

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a plea filed by the State of Nagaland for a direction to its Lokayukta to cease exercising his powers and functions and transfer all his work to the Upa-Lokayukta.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde posted the case after two weeks.

A statement issued by Nagaland Advocate General K.N. Balagopal, who appeared for the State, alleged that the writ petition sought the removal of the Lokayukta for “acts of impropriet­y.”

The petition by the State asked the court to use its extraordin­ary powers under Article 142 of the Constituti­on to preserve the institutio­nal integrity of the Lokayukta and ensure that a “fit, proper and competent person” occupies the office of the Lokayukta.

Mr. Balagopal cited several reasons for seeking the Lokayukta’s removal, including the latter’s alleged demand to be able to work online from Delhi. The State’s top law officer said an inquiry had been proposed on the origins of a letter, purportedl­y approved by the State Chief Secretary, permitting the Lokayukta to function from the National Capital. Mr. Balagopal said it was later learnt that the letter was not approved by the Chief Secretary.

The petition alleged that the Lokayukta had also made an “unjustifie­d request” to be allotted the former office-cum-bungalow of the CM. Earlier this year, the Lokayukta, Justice Uma Nath Singh, a retired Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High court, had ordered a “preliminar­y enquiry” against the Deputy CM.

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