NEW DELHI: The AAP government is likely to be at loggerheads with the Centre again over the appointment of former Delhi High Court judge Justice Reva Khetrapal on Thursday as the Lokayukta of Delhi since the State government had already passed the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly.
Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office to Khetrapal at a function at the Raj Niwas. Her tenure as Lokayukta will be for a period of five years. The Delhi Assembly had passed the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 on December 4, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had claimed it to be the strongest anti-graft legislation in the country.
“A strong law is being brought. We will go to the Centre and the Prime Minster and urge him that the Jan Lokpal be passed,” Kejriwal had said in the Assembly. Now as the AAP government was expecting the Centre to clear the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath to Khetrapal as Lokayukta. Khetrapal, who was additional judge in the Delhi High Court between February 28, 2006 and September 22, 2014, took oath in the presence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet ministers, judges of Delhi High Court and Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta among others. Kejriwal and his cabinet were surprised over Jung’s move. However, they restrained themselves from reacting over this issue.
A four-member panel, comprising Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini, Kejriwal, Jung and Gupta had in October chosen Khetrapal’s name for the post of Lokayukta. Thereafter, Jung had recommended her name to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Reva Khetrapal was also Additional District and Sessions Judge in 1991 and was posted as Special Judge (Narcotics) in 1994. The last Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Manmohan Sarin, had relinquished office in November, 2013, and since then the post had been lying vacant.
Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Against AAP
The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking a CBI probe into AAP’s funding and its alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, saying a similar complaint was already being probed by an agency. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also rejected a request for registration of a criminal case against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia and order a day-to-day trial under high court supervision. The court took note of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ reply that nothing was found against AAP in its probe report.