Mr. Chief Minister while appointing Lokayukta please don’t disappoint us. After the Goa Lokayukta Bill 2011 and Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill 2011 were unanimously passed in Legislative Assembly of Goa and Uttarakhand, the Governors of these states referred the said bills to President of India for approval. Before the President granted assent to said Bills, Assembly elections were held in Uttarakhand; in Goa too elections were announced. On whether they would be willing to carry out amendments in the Goa Lokayukta Bill, the BJP state unit of Goa in February 2012 replied that the “Bhartiya Janata Party is committed to enforcing Lokayukta Act within 100 days if elected to and will ensure that same is in tune with the Lokayukta Act as enacted in the state of Uttarakhand.”
After President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the Goa Lokayukta Bill 2011, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar stated in the media that he was open to borrowing good points from the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill to strengthen the Goa Lokayukta Bill, adding that ‘this was possible only after the appointment of a Lokayukta and the assessment of the effectiveness of Goa Lokayukta Act over a period of time.’
Last week Parrikar assured Goa that the Lokayukta would start functioning in the State within next three months. He did not spell out the precise connotation of his vague phrase ‘over a period of time’.
In response to the statement made by Chief Minister, the IAC (Goa Unit) has opined that “compared to the provisions in Goa Lokayukta Bill dealing with the selection process of Lokayukta, the Uttarakhand Bill details much better provisions.
If similar provisions are not followed in appointment Lokayukta in Goa, the very purpose of borrowing good features from the Uttarakhand Lokayuktta Bill will be rendered anfractuous.
The Goa Lokayukta Bill 2011 provides that ‘the Lokayukta and / or Upa Lokayuktas shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice tendered by theChief Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Leader of Opposition.’
On the other hand the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill 2011 interalia provides as the chairperson and the members of the Lokayukta shall be appointed by the Governor as per the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee shall consists of the following:-
* The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand – Chairperson of the Selection Committee.
* The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
* Two Judges of the High Court selected by collegium of all judges of High Court.
* One person from previous Chairpersons of Lokayukta (who is the senior most Chairperson) appointed under Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act, 2011.
* Two members shall be selected by the other members of the Selection Committee from amongst the retired Chief Justices of India, the retired judges of Supreme Court and High Court and the retired personnel i.e. Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, Chief Election Commissioners of India, Chief Central Information Commis -sioners, Chairperson of Union Public Service Commission, Cabinet Secretaries of the Government of India and Comptroller and Auditor Generals of India with reputation of impeccable integrity, who have not joined any political party after retirement and who are not holding any office under any government.
* The Search Committee before preparing the short list will invite nominations from such people whom they deem fit, for the position of Chairperson or the members of the Lokayukta.
* The Selection Committee shall, select the Chairperson and required number of members of Lokayukta preferably through consensus.
* The Selection Committee, if more than one member is to be selected, shall select the members of Lokayukta preparing the list in order of preference which will be used as inter-se seniority among the members.
What is true about selection of a Lokpal is equally true about selection of a Lokayukta. Though under the Goa Lokayukta Bill 2011, the Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition come under the purview of Lokayukta, they strangely have the biggest say in selection of Lokayukta. Is this not an anomaly? If the procedure of ‘first appointment and thereafter amendment’ is followed the Goa Lokayukta Legislation will be meaningless. If the selection of the Lokayukta is not made through a broad based panel and if the inputs of expert search committee are not taken into consideration, the result can be disastrous. Any selection made on the recommendation of Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition will invite the tent of ‘politically motivated choice’.
If there are administrative difficulties in carrying out amendments prior to appointment of Lokayukta, then the said procedure ought to be followed even without carrying out the proposed amendment.
The CM’s decision to follow the procedure of inviting applications to fill the post of Information Commissioner has rightly earned praise from Right to Information activists. In said case the CM, rightly followed the procedure of inviting applications though there was not corresponding provision in the Information Act or Rules.