Saturday, August 22, 2015

SKM MLAs petition High Court with challenge on appointment of Lokayukta

The Division Bench of Sikkim High Court comprising of Justice SP Wangdi and Justice Meenakshi M Rai on 21 August admitted a writ petition filed by two Sikkim Krantikari Morcha MLAs, Kunga Nima Lepcha and Ugen Nedup Bhutia, challenging the appointment of Lokayukta Chairman for Sikkim, Justice [retd.] Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta. The SKM duo has argued that the State government has not followed the statutory law while constituting the selection committee to appoint the Lokayukta.
The High Court has accordingly issued notices to the Principal Secretary, Home Department, and the Chief Secretary and directed them to respond within three weeks.
Among one of the points argued by the petitioners is that since cases are pending before the Lokayukta against the Chief Minister [who happens to be Chairman of the Selection Committee] and the current Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, to maintain transparency and fair play, both, the Chief Minister and Speaker, should have refrained or recused themselves from being members of the selection committee which recommended the name of the Chairperson of the Sikkim Lokayukta.
Also, in their petition, the two SKM MLAs state that since the Sikkim Legislative Assembly has not appointed a ‘Leader of Opposition’ [LoP], the provision of statutory law Section 4 (1) (d) mandates that if there is no Leader of Opposition then the seniormost member of the legislative assembly shall be a member of the selection committee. The seniormost member of the current Legislative Assembly is Mr. Kunga Nima Lepcha, they point out, while adding that he was not included in the selection committee.

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