The Supreme Court on Friday asked the chief secretaries of 11 states and a Union Territory why they have not yet appointed a Lokayukta, PTI reported. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi sought the answer from Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal.
The bench then directed the chief secretaries to file an affidavit within two weeks and let it know about the steps taken to appoint the anti-corruption ombudsmen, and also specify the reason for the delay, Live Law reported. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation that Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay filed in 2016.
The governments in these states have not established the Lokpal even though the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, received presidential assent on January 1, 2014, and came into force 15 days after that, Upadhyay argued in his plea.
“Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, envisages that every state shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta within a period of one year from the date of commencement of the Act, however, many states have not done so till date,” he said. “And many States have not passed the Lokayukta Act in consonance with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.”
He accused a number of state governments of deliberately weakening the office of the anti-corruption ombudsman by not providing adequate infrastructure, sufficient budget and workforce.