Bangalore, Jan 17: Amid the controversy over the issue of appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor in Gujarat, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj today said he cannot name the new anti-corruption ombudsman in the state without the government's approval.
“I cannot appoint a Lokayukta. I don't think any High Court can appoint Lokayukta. The (Karnataka Lokayukta) Act is very clear. Without the approval of the Government, it cannot be done. I don't subscribe to that view. It involves multiple consultation process”, he told reporters here.
Bhardwaj, who was responding to a question on the Gujarat High Court majority verdict upholding the appointment of R A Mehta as Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal, said “Why do you bring in Gujarat here. I have requested the Chief Minister (D V Sadananda Gowda) to send a proposal to me.”
Under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, the state government has to consult leaders of opposition and Presiding officers in both the houses legislatures and advise the Governor on the appointment of a Lokayukta.
Karnataka is also witnessing a standoff between the BJP Government and the Governor on the appointment of Lokayukta, leaving the post vacant for the last four months.
The Government has recommended the name of former Kerala High Court chief justice S R Bannurmath as Lokayukta, but it has been rejected by Bhardwaj, who is insisting on a ‘spotless' person for the post.
Bhardwaj said “Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda is making efforts on appointment of new lokayukta... I can't appoint Lokayukta. I can't send names. I am not entitled to send names”, he said.
Bhardwaj said Gowda had sought time to consider his suggestion for recommending the name of another judge.
He asserted that he has been working in accordance with law and added “until the Chief Minister gives me his recommendation, I cannot appoint Lokayukta”.
“I don't think I have such powers. Without the approval of the Goverment, I can't appoint Lokayukta,” the Governor said while admitting that the process of dealing with corrupt had slowed down in the wake of the post of Lokayukta remaining vacant.
Former supreme court judge Shivaraj Patil had resigned as Lokayukta in September a month after taking charge following allegations that he secured allotment of a site in violation of rules.
On Lokayukta Police filing a “B” report giving a clean chit to Home Minister R Ashoka in a case relating to alleged corruption, he said it was the government duty to appoint good lawyers to handle corruption cases.