Allahabad HC Pans Yogi Adityanath Govt for Attempting to ‘Belittle and Humiliate’ the Office of Lokayukta
“Is it because of the sensitive nature of the duties performed by the Lokayukta?", asked the court in its scathing judgement.
The Allahabad High Court, on December 21, criticised the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for treating Lokayukta, Justice Sanjay Misra, in “such a casual and irresponsible manner”. The UP government, as it transpires, slighted the anti-corruption ombudsman by cancelling his Type-VI accommodation and replacing it with a Type-V accommodation — not just a lower category, but one that is subject to terms and conditions, including payment of rent.
According to a report on Live Law, Misra had approached the high court against cancellation of his accomodation on the Lokayukta is entitled to the same benefits and facilities as the Chief Justice of the High Court. His lawyer mentioned in court that this transgression on the state government’s part is a blatant attempt by it to belittle the office of Lokayukta.
Even as the state government tried to justify their move by contending that the status of the Lokayukta was akin to that of Chairman/Member of statutory Commission under the state government, the High Court bench rejected it completely.
The bench noted that, “The fact that as per Section 3 of the Act, 1975 the appointment of a Lokayukta is to be made after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly etc. itself goes to show the importance attached to the Office. A Lokayukta is to function as a sentinel to ensure a corruption free Administration,” adding that, “Even at the cost of repetition we may again point out that in view of the proviso to Section 5(5), the conditions of service of Lokayukta cannot be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment. Any attempt in this regard by the State would be fraught with serious consequences considering the sensitivity attached to the office as also its independence and impartiality by the statute itself.”
The High Court bench, however, went further with their criticism and asked the UP government if this move was simply a pressure tactic. “Is it because of the sensitive nature of the duties performed by the Lokayukta? Is it an attempt to belittle and humiliate the incumbent of the august office? Does it behove the state government to treat the Lokayukta in such a casual and irresponsible manner?” asked the bench.