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CJ objects to Lok Ayukta appointment
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Binod Kumar Roy, has taken a serious objection to the proposed appointment of Justice N.K. Kapoor, a former Judge of the High Court, as the next Lok Ayukta of Haryana, according to reliable sources.

The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had recently written to Mr Justice Roy and the officiating Leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature party, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, proposing the name of Justice Kapoor as the next Lok Ayukta of the state.

The Lok Ayukta can inquire into the complaints of misuse of office by public servants, including the Chief Minister and the former Chief Ministers.

The sources say Mr Justice Roy, known for taking a tough stand on the issue of propriety in public life, has written to Mr Chautala opposing the appointment of Justice Kapoor on the ground that the recommendation for his elevation to the Bench was made by Mr Chautala himself when he was the Chief Minister of the state earlier.

Mr Justice Roy, the sources say, has also pointed out that the then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice J.V. Gupta, and the then Governor of Punjab, Mr Nirmal Mukherjee, had turned down the proposal to make Mr Kapoor a High Court Judge.

The Chief Justice has also stated in his letter that Mr Kapoor, before he became a High Court Judge, had been practicing as an advocate in Sirsa, the home district of Mr Chautala, and he (Mr Kapoor) had also been handling the cases of the Chautala family.

Justice Kapoor has been the Chairman of the Haryana Town and Country Planning Tribunal for the past about five years.

Mr Justice Roy is also believed to have pointed out that though no retirement age has been provided in the Haryana Lok Ayukta Act, it is desirable that the incumbent should be near the age of 65 years, when a Supreme Court Judge retires. Justice Kapoor is already touching 70 years of age. The tenure of a Lok Ayukta is five years.

Mr Justice Roy has pointed out that since a retired High Court Judge, a retired High Court Chief Justice, or a retired Supreme Court Judge can become the Lok Ayukta, the retirement age of whom is 62 years and 65 years, respectively, a Lok Ayukta should be near this age when he enters the office.

Capt Yadav had also opposed the appointment of Justice Kapoor in his letter written to Mr Chautala in October last. His objection was to the procedure adopted by Mr Chautala for consulting the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice. He quoted several Supreme Court judgements to say that Mr Chautala’s letter to him did not amount to “effective consultation”.

Capt Yadav wanted that a panel of names should have been drawn up and then consultations should have been held with the Chief Justice and the Leader of Opposition. He said the Chief Minister’s letter was more in the nature of intimation, which did not meet the statutory requirement of “consultation”.


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