M A I N   N E W S

Punjab Lokpal’s first job: Finding himself an office
Sekhon sworn in; spends Day 1 inspecting available office space
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Newly-appointed Lokpal Justice (retd) JS Sekhon realised the toothless wonder his office has become immediately after being sworn-in today. He drove to the Mini Secretariat to take charge only to be told that he had neither an office nor staff.

Justice Sekhon sat in the committee room at the Mini Secretariat in Sector 9 here as the office of his predecessor, Justice (retd) DS Dhaliwal, has been given to Health Secretary Vinni Mahajan. Thus began the hunt for a new office for the Lokpal.

Justice Sekhon was then taken to the A block in the Mini Secretariat that is occupied mainly by the Punjab Police Litigation cell and shown Room 6. He rejected the room, citing a problem of dampness and no attached toilet.

After this, the State branch which is responsible for allocating offices to officials, showed Sekhon an office in Sector 17. It did not have air conditioning and was found unsuitable by Sekhon. He told TNS that he would like to have an office in the Mini Secretariat and would request the government for it.

Lokpal Principal Secretary CS Srivastava admitted lack of preparedness because the Lokpal had been appointed only recently. He said adequate office space would be made available for Justice Sekhon.

Punjab Governor Shivraj V Patil administered the oath of allegiance to Justice Sekhon at a brief ceremony at Raj Bhavan on Friday morning. It was attended by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and members of Justice Sekhon’s family.

The new Lokpal has practically no staff. Some staff members attached to the Lokpal office are on contract and their terms ended when Justice Dhaliwal demitted office in March this year.

Many other staff members, who are permanent employees, have been posted out. This includes the staff member responsible for keeping office records under lock and key.

Inspector General (IG) of Police IPS Sahota, who is attached with the Lokpal office, said efforts were on to locate the staff member, who has been posted to Ferozepur.

Justice Sekhon, when asked whether the lack of commitment on the part of the government towards the Lokpal office indicated it was not on its priority list, said: “Indications are like that”. He said his immediate priority would be to ensure proper accommodation as well as adequate staff in the Lokpal office.





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