Appointment of Lokayukta in Delhi soon, Delhi govt tells High Court

The Delhi government Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it is in the process of appointing a Lokayukta in the national capital. The position has remained vacant since December 2020. “On 10th February a meeting was convened with all statutory authorities and a name has been recommended,” the Delhi government’s standing counsel Santosh Tripathi submitted before the division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. The submission was made during the hearing of BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s plea for the appointment of the Lokayukta within a month. Following the government submission, the court listed the matter for hearing on April 29. “Have patience. We are simply adjourning the matter,” the court told Upadhyay. Upadhyay earlier submitted before the court that more than 100 cases against MLAs are pending before the office of Lokayukta. “The party-in-power [Aam Aadmi Party] promised Lokpal in the 2013 manifesto, 2015 manifesto and 2020 manifesto. Delhi is without Lokayukta from 2020. Corruption cases against the MLAs are pending and that is why the government is not appointing Lokayukta,” he submitted. Justice (retd) Rave Khetrapal retired as Delhi Lokayukta on December 15 in 2020 but the government “did nothing” to fill the post till date and hundreds of complaints relating to corruption are pending in the office, Upadhyay said in the plea. “It is necessary to state that Delhi is governed by Aam Aadmi Party, which was formed after historic Anna Movement, seeking Lokpal at Centre, Lokayukta in state and Citizen Charter in every department but it did not amend Lokayukta Act in the spirit of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 and [is] still using outdated ineffective 1995 Act,” he added. Upadhyay has further argued in the petition that political parties are promising “irrational freebies” to people during the electoral process but are “not fulfilling essential promises”. The petition further stated that the Centre and Election Commission of India have not taken steps to regulate the functioning of political parties and their manifestos.

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