OPCC prez misreads SC order on Lokayukta

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik Wednesday attacked the BJD government after misreading the July 10 Supreme Court order on appointing the Lokayukta.
“The timeframe given by Supreme Court for appointment of a Lokayukta in Odisha has expired. But the Odisha government did not carry out the SC order to root out corruption. A Lokayukta would have exposed corruption at all levels,” Patnaik said in a release Wednesday.
The OPCC President’s citing of the two-month deadline is likely to be based on media reports which wrongly cited the SC order had a ‘two-month’ deadline. However, the SC’s written order on the issue issued by the three-judge bench set a deadline of three months.
On July 10 some lawyers had told reporters that the SC had given two months time to Odisha to appoint a Lokayukta. The written order published July 11, however, clarified that the state was given ‘three months’ to appoint a Lokayukta.
The written order passed by the SC said, “As the Odisha Lokayukta Act has been brought into effect on July 7, 2018 and relevant rules have also been framed in the light of what has been stated in the affidavit of the Chief Secretary of Odisha, we direct that follow-up measures for appointment of the Lokayukta be completed within three months from today.”
The case came for hearing before a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Navin Sinha July 10. The case also took stock of the appointments of Lokayukta and Lokpals in other states.
The Odisha government through its affidavit told the SC July 10 that the Odisha Lokayukta (terms of the Search Committee and Conditions of Appointment of Members and Fees and Allowances Payable to its Members) Rules, 2018 had been framed and that steps had been taken for constitution of the Selection Committee and the Search Committee for selection of the Lokayukta, and on receipt of the recommendations appointments would be made.