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Justice Sekhon new Punjab Lokpal

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Congress protests against appointment as his brother is a State Minister

New role:Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil administering the oath of office to Justice J. S. Sekhon as Lokpal of Punjab at a ceremony in Chandigarh on Friday.- Photo: Special Arrangement
New role:Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil administering the oath of office to Justice J. S. Sekhon as Lokpal of Punjab at a ceremony in Chandigarh on Friday.- Photo: Special Arrangement

Justice (Retd) Jai Singh Sekhon took the oath as the new Lokpal of Punjab on Friday prompting protests from the Congress which approached Governor Shivraj Patil against the appointment claiming it was a clear case of “conflict of interest”.

After taking the oath at a brief ceremony held at Raj Bhavan, Justice Sekhon said among his immediate priorities would be ensuring fast disposal of cases.

The Congress had said that for the sake of “moral and judicial propriety” Justice Sekhon should have declined to be the Punjab Lokpal as his brother Janmeja Singh Sekhon is a Minister in the Punjab Government. PCC president Amarinder Singh in a letter to the Governor with a copy to the Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court said, “A State Lokpal is required to be an autonomous, independent-minded, unbiased and politically uncoloured individual mandated and empowered by the provisions of the Punjab Lokpal Act,1996, to investigate and inquire into complaints of misconduct and corruption. It is therefore most imperative and required that such Lokpal be a person free of all political associations, affiliations, connections and colour.”

“There is a clear and patent conflict of interest between the personal life and familial affiliations of Justice Sekhon on the one hand and his duties and functions as an independent and autonomous Lokpal on the other hand,” he said.

However, in a chat with reporters after taking the oath, Justice Sekhon said, “I have no political affiliation though my brother is a Cabinet Minister...I will administer whatever my powers are impartially.”

Asked to comment on the Congress raking up Justice Sekhon’s appointment in the context of him being a relative of a minister, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said, “Judge ka koyee relation nahee hota, Judge means Judge (Judges have no relation while discharging duties, Judge is above every relation)”.

He said even some serving judges have relatives in different political parties. – PTI

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