Karnataka Lokayukta Shivraj Patil Resigns over housing row

Justice Shivraj Patil today resigned as Lokayukta of Karnataka barely six weeks after he was appointed as Karnataka’s ombudsman. Justice Patil resigned over owning of housing sites for him and h

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advocate

September 23, 2011 - 9:17am

State ‘unilaterally’ picked Justice Patil for Lokayukta jobThe then CJ, J S Khehar, had objected, not to the choice of Justice Patil as Hegde’s successor, but to the manner in which he was picked by Yeddyurappa govt without consulting relevant authorities Azmath Posted On Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 01:01:18 AM Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Shivaraj V Patil’s resignation was accepted by Governor H R Bhardwaj on Tuesday, and as if on cue, another skeleton tumbled out of the cupboard. Sources told Bangalore Mirror that Justice J S Khehar, chief justice of the High Court of Karnataka, had objected, not to the choice of Justice Patil as Lokayukta, but to the ‘unilateral’ manner in which he was appointed to the office by the BJP government. End of the farceThe Karnataka Lokayukta Act states it is mandatory for the state government to consult the high court chief justice, leaders of opposition in both houses and presiding officers at both assembly and council for selecting the Lokayukta. With the previous Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, set to retire on August 2, the B S Yeddyurappa administration sent a shortlist of three names to all the above functionaries, and no one objected to any of the names. When it came to owning plots, even Lokayukta was ignorant of lawBut thereafter, Yeddyurappa, who was indicted by Justice Hegde in the illegal mining scam, did not seek the Lokayukta selection panel’s approval while picking Justice Patil as the new Lokayukta. Two days later he was ousted as chief minister.Soon after Justice Patil’s appointment was notified, Justice Khehar sent a letter to the government (by that time Sadananda Gowda had become the CM), expressing his displeasure at being bypassed for selecting the best among the shortlist of three. His contention was that, the government, according to convention, should have called for a meeting of the Lokayukta selection panel comprising himself and the other functionaries to pick the best from the three as Justice Hegde’s successor. Or, it should have consulted the functionaries individually over Justice Patil’s appointment. Anybody having objection to the choice could have recorded his/her dissent (just like the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, had done during the selection of P J Thomas as CVC). Justice Khehar, however, made it clear that he had no objection to the choice of Justice Patil as Lokayukta.Sources said that the government wrote back a placating letter to him, stating that as Justice Hegde was vacating his office, it was in a hurry to name his successor. Not wanting to keep such a key post vacant, it went ahead with the appointment. The government further defended itself, saying, “Since nobody objected to any of the three names on the panel, we construed it as an approval that anyone from the panel could be selected for the job.” The mild-mannered chief justice did not pursue the issue further.However, constitutional experts told Bangalore Mirror that the Yeddyurappa government had tampered with the process of Lokayukta’s appointment by circulating three names and getting “approval” for all of them.A former advocate general told BM on condition of anonymity, “This (unilateral selection of Justice Patil) is not a healthy practice. I have witnessed the appointment of Lokayuktas ever since the Ramakrishna Hegde government enacted the Lokayukta Act. All of them were selected following due consultations; not merely through circulation of a letter with three names. Over the years, chief ministers had consulted chief justices, speakers of Assembly, chairmen of council and leaders of opposition in both houses before appointing Lokayuktas. The convention was broken for the first time with Justice Patil’s appointment. Hope chief minister Sadananda Gowda would not act like his predecessor while naming the successor of Justice Patil.”What the Act saysA person to be appointed as the Lokayukta shall be a person who has held the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court or that of the Chief Justice of a High Court and shall be appointed on the advice tendered by the CM in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, the Chairman, Karnataka Legislative Council, the Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council and Assembly.

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NAGARAJ

September 21, 2011 - 12:40pm

Watch Mr.Patil how it hurts though you are coming from a affluent family, caste & background. The Media (backed by brahmin culture & money sourced through Gowda clan) trailed you in public like anything. WHATEVER YOU SAY or DEFEND, IRREVOCABLE DAMAGED HAS BEEN DONE thr’ MALACIOUS CAMPAIGN. If this was the situation of yours' then what would be the plight of Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice P.D.Dinakaran how they are humiliated by the communalised / casteist legal fraternity. Open your eyes & see the world. Believe & follow in Great Reformer Basavanna's principle.

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Anon

September 20, 2011 - 11:27pm

Malicious reporting indeed! Dont you realise that the axiom "Be Ye Ever So High, The Law Is Above You" does not apply to Indian judges (sitting or retired) in the era of judicial activism?

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