The State government’s choice for the post of Lokayukta has run into rough weather again. The Advocates Association, Bangalore, has opposed the appointment of the State government nominee and former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao as the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Under pressure from various quarters, including the High Court, to appoint a Lokayukta, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar forwarded the 75-year-old Bhaskar Rao’s name on Monday to Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah as part of the mandatory process of consultation.

Stating that the AAB would formally convey its opposition to the Chief Minister on Friday, its president K.N. Subba Reddy told The Hindu on Thursday that Mr. Rao had received an illegal allotment of land at the a residential layout in Hebbal formed by the Judicial Employees’ House Building Cooperative Society. “That alone should disqualify him from the race for the post of anti-corruption ombudsman,” he said.

Coincidentally, a media expose about the irregularity in the allotment of a plot in the same layout had forced the previous Lokayukta Shivraj Patil to step down from the post in September 2011. The post has remained vacant ever since.

Mr. Reddy said that Mr. Rao would not be able to discharge his duties efficiently as he does not know Kannada. “A majority of the complaints received by the Lokayukta are in Kannada. How can Mr. Rao dispense justice if he cannot even read and write the language properly?” Mr. Rao sought to know. He also said that at 75, Mr. Rao was too old for the job.

AAB general secretary A.P. Ranganath said, “The State government is trying to push through the appointment at a time when we do not have a full time Chief Justice. The Supreme Court collegium has already recommended the name of Justice D.H. Waghela as Karnataka Chief Justice. But the State government has sat on the recommendation. They want to push the Lokayukta appointment before a full-time Chief Justice is appointed,” he said.

All attempts by The Hindu to get Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar to react to the stand of the advocates’ association failed.

  • Bhaskar Rao has benfitted from illegal land allotment, does not know Kannada, says AAB

  • ‘State wants to push the appointment before a full-time Chief Justice is appointed’