NEW DELHI: On the day Anna Hazare began an indefinite hunger strike demanding the appointment of a Lokpal and Lokayuktas to probe corruption cases, the Supreme Court sought an explanation from the chief secretaries of 11 states on why they had not appointed a Lokayukta and Uplokayukta despite the enactment of a law in this regard five years ago.
Scores of protesters, including farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, gathered at Ramlila Maidan to join the protest, as the 80-year-old activist is also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, which suggests ways to address agrarian distress, mainly in central India.
In 2011, Hazare had sat on a similar hunger strike for a Lokpal, during the United Progressive Alliance government’s rule. He has said he decided to go on a hunger strike now after Prime Minister Narendera Modi did not reply to his letters on these issues. “I have written more than 30 letters to Modi in the last three years, but he never replied to them. Modi has an ego of his prime ministership, hence he did not respond to my letters,” Hazare said.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi asked the chief secretaries to specify, within two weeks, the reasons for not appointing the ombudsman in their respective states even though the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was enacted in 2013.
As per section 63 of the Act, every state shall establish a body to be known as Lokayukta.The bench said that from the material brought on record, it appeared that Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh had not appointed any Lokpal, Lokayukta or Uplokayukta.The court was hearing a PIL filed by petitioner advocate and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The court is slated to hear the case on April 12.