Advocate general of Nagaland K N Balgopal said the Supreme Court has given three months time to the Nagaland government to make amendments in the Lokayukta Act to include the state chief minister in the selection committee for appointment of Lokayukta in the state.
Balgopal, in a release on Friday, stated the state chief secretary filed an affidavit, finalised by him, in the apex court for inclusion of the chief minister in the selection panel for appointment of the Lokayukta. The affidavit also mentioned that the proposed amendments were matters which would be considered by the state legislature in its wisdom.
The Supreme Court after taking note of the reasons for the proposed amendments left it to the authorities concerned to effect necessary amendments and appoint the Lokayukta within three months, he said.
The senior advocate stated that the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 had received the assent of the governor on December 21, 2017.
“Normally, after the Act receives the assent of the governor, it is notified for implementation. Curiously, the previous government notified the Act for information and not for implementation. The Act has now been notified for implementation on October 16, 2018,” Balgopal said.
He said the state government had informed the apex court that in section (3) of the current version of the Act, sub-section (1) states the governor as the appointing authority of the Lokayukta while sub-section (2) states that the state government will appoint the Lokayukta, ‘creating confusion in the mind of the people as to who really is the appointing authority.’
According to the existing Act, the selection of the Lokayukta will be done by the state government after consultation with the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, the Speaker of the Assembly and the leader of the Opposition, Balgopal said.
“Interestingly, the chief minister has been kept out of the selection process by the previous government. Even in the Lokpal Act, the Prime Minister is the part of the selection committee. In the Lokayukta Act of the states of Kerala, Goa, Haryana and Gujarat, even the chief minister is involved in the process of selection,” he stated.
“Including the chief minister in the selection process is a question of the Naga pride and is a privilege to be accorded to any chief minister of Nagaland,” Balgopal added.