Advocate General of Goa Devidas Pangam today informed a Division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice M.S. Sonak and Justice M.S.Jawalkar that the process to appoint the next Lokayukta has been initiated and that a committee is being constituted to select the Lokayukta. The High Court has adjourned to September 23rd the petition filed by Adv. Rodrigues so that the Government could state as to when the new Lokayukta will be appointed.
Pointing out that it took the government three long years to fill the vacancy after the first Lokayukta Justice Sudershan Reddy resigned in September 2013, Adv. Rodrigues submitted to the Court that the government should expedite the process so that the vital institution of Lokayukta does not remain non-functional for long.
Adv. Aires Rodigues last month moved the High Court over the failure of the Government to initiate the process of selecting the new Lokayukta despite the current incumbent Justice P.K. Misra due to retire on September 17th.
While drawing the attention of the Court that the Goa Lokayukta Act was enacted to provide for the establishment of the Institution of Lokayukta to inquire into grievances and allegations against Public functionaries in the State of Goa, Adv. Rodrigues in his petition stated that despite being fully aware that the current Lokayukta demits office on this 17th September, the government had done nothing to start the process to look for the next Lokayukta.
Adv. Rodrigues further stated that it appears that the State Government is not keen to appoint the next Lokayukta so as to give public officials a free hand to indulge in acts of Corruption and maladministration and that the functioning of the Lokayukta and the cases currently pending before it would come to a grinding halt.
Adv. Rodrigues in his petition sought that the High Court consider issuing directions to the Government for the purpose of selection of the new Lokayukta to take over the vital position after the term of the current incumbent ends on September 17th 2020.
Incidentally the Goa Lokayukta Act initially required that the Lokayukta should be a retired High Court Judge but by an amendment brought by then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2013 the Lokayukta has now to be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sudarshen Reddy was on 8th March 2013 appointed as Goa’s first Lokayukta who assumed charge on 14th March amidst huge public protest at the Dona Paula circle while he was proceeding to the Goa Raj Bhavan to take his oath in office.
Within six months suddenly on 18th September 2013 Sudarshen Reddy without citing any reasons left Goa in a huff after tendering his resignation which was accepted by the Goa Governor on 17th October 2013
Three years later the current incumbent Justice P.K.Misra on 24th April 2016 was appointed as Goa’s second Lokayukta and he assumed charge on 28th of April 2016 while his term ends on this 17th September.