Uttarkhand High court asks govt to appoint Lokayukta in three months

The Uttarakhand High court on Friday asked the state government to appoint the Lokayukta within three months.

The court also said the staff of the Lokayukta’s office should not be paid until the appointment of the anti-corruption ombudsman is made.

The government can assign them work from other departments and make payments accordingly, it said.

The order was delivered by a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal on a PIL which said crores of rupees were being spent on the office of the Lokayukta without the appointment of the head of the anti-corruption body.

The State had asked the court for a leave of six months to appoint the Lokayukta.

However, the division bench of the high court granted three months time for the purpose.

Filed by Haldwani resident Ravi Shankar Joshi, the PIL said the state government has not yet appointed the Lokayukta despite spending an annual budget of Rs 2 to 3 crore in the name of the institution.

It was further said in the petition that Uttarakhand is riddled with various scandals and even the smallest cases have to be brought to the High Court.

The petition noted that currently all investigation agencies in the state are under the government’s control. There is no such investigation agency in Uttarakhand at present that has the authority to register a corruption case against any bureaucrat without the government’s prior permission, it said.

Therefore, the vacant position of the Lokayukta should be filled soon, it added.

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