NEW DELHI: In a first-of-its-kind order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday exercised its Constitutional authority and appointed former High Court judge, Justice Virendra Singh, as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh after the State government failed to comply with its directives.
The bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi examined a list of nominees and ordered the appointment. “The failure of Constitutional functionaries to comply with the orders of the highest court of the land is deeply regretted and astonishing,” the bench said, adding, “We, therefore, proceed to exercise our right under Article 142 of the Constitution to remedy the situation by passing an appropriate order.” The bench said that it appointed Justice Singh as Lokayukta and asked the State government to file a report by December 20 indicating compliance of its order.
The bench regretted that its orders had not been heeded by the Constitutional functionaries — the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
In the forenoon, the bench took note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the State government, that though it had shortlisted five names no consensus had been arrived at on a specific person and that the CM and the LoO had no objections to three names and the Chief Justice of the HC had not expressed his opinion on any of them.
The bench asked Sibal to provide the names by 12.30 pm on Wednesday and said, “We know how to get our orders complied with”.
The bench, in its order, referred to orders including the one which was passed on April 24 last year, asking the state government to take steps for selecting a new Lokayukta within six months. Earlier on December 14, the court had rapped the government for not appointing the Lokayukta.
The bench was hearing pleas filed by Mahendra Kumar Jain and Radhakant Tripathi seeking a direction to the State to appoint the Lokayukta at the earliest in pursuance of SC orders.