Advocate-General asked to produce Yeddyurappa's letter to Khehar on issue

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday indicated that it would interpret the provisions related to the process of appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta to put an end to the confusion prevailing in this regard.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna, which is hearing two public interest litigation petitions challenging appointment of Upalokayukta Chandrashekaraiah, has orally said it while observing that “it is the duty of the court to interpret the law and not of those lawyers, whom we do not even see in courts, to interpret law during panel discussions on television channels”.

Now such an occasion has come before court to interpret the relevant provisions of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act to put in place a proper procedure for the appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta and to ensure that eligible persons are appointed to these posts, the Bench observed orally while asking the Advocate-General and others to assist the court in this regard.

The Bench also asked the Advocate-General to produce the letter written by the then Chief Minister [B.S. Yeddyurappa] apologising to the then Chief Justice of the High Court [J.S. Khehar] when the latter had found fault with the consultation process in the appointment of Justice Shivaraj V. Patil as Lokayukta.

It has been contended in the petitions that the Government has not followed proper consultation procedure while selecting Mr. Chandrashekaraiah to the post, as the Chief Justice who is one among the others with whom the Chief Minister will have to consult before choosing a retired judge of the High Court for the post, himself had written a letter to the Chief Minister finding fault in the selection procedure. However, State's Advocate-General S. Vijay Shankar contended that writing letters to the constitutional functionaries involved in selection process requesting them to suggest name of a retired judge for the post constitutes consultation. And the Chief Minister is free to advise the Governor to appoint one of the persons recommended by these constitutional functionaries. He also contended that the said consultation procedure was adopted from many years.

Further hearing on the petitions will continue on April 2.