The Uttarakhand government on Sunday went a step closer to appoint a Lokayukta after a panel headed by chief minister Harish Rawat set up a five-member search committee.
The members of the search committee are former high court acting chief justice Brahmma Singh, former high court judge Bhanwar Singh, former chief secretary RS Tolia, retired IAS officer Vibhapuri Das and economist Alok Shah.
The chief minister announced the search committee after a meeting with the members of the selection committee tasked with selecting the Lokayukta. The meeting was attended by leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt.
Three other members of the selection panel – assembly speaker GS Kunjwal, state high court judge VK Bisht and retired high court judge Irshad Hussain – were also present.
The selection committee maintained that the search panel would suggest the name of the Lokayukta at the earliest, sources said.
“Search committee members being dignitaries they were given no deadline for naming the Lokayukta,” a source at the CM office quoted the selection committee members as saying. “They were not given a deadline but, I think, they should be intimating the selection committee about their choice of the Lokayukta by next week or month,” Bhatt told Hindustan Times.
The BJP leader alleged that the Rawat government kept delaying the appointment of the anti-graft ombudsman but was forced to expedite the process as the Opposition mounted pressure.
The process of appointing a Lokayukta got momentum more than two years after the Congress government passed an anti-graft bill modelled on the Centre’s Lok Pal Act.
The UPA government enacted the Lok Pal Act in 2013. The chief minister recently came under fire from his predecessor Vijay Bahuguna for not expediting the process of appointing the Lokayukta.
“We (Congress government) should be the first to appoint the anti-graft ombudsman as the Congress-led UPA government had passed the Lok Pal Bill in Parliament,” he had told HT.