The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the appointment of Justice (retd) Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta of Karnataka on the ground that he was appointed by the government without consultation with the Chief Justice of Karnataka high court.
A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and Madan B Lokur held that the consultation with the Chief Justice is mandatory before appointment of Upa Lokayukta and the chief minister did not hold any "meaningful" consultation with the Chief Justice.
The bench, however, made it clear that there is nothing against justice Chandrashekaraiah and he can be again considered by the state government for the post.
The bench said the chief minister has committed error by not consulting the chief justice and held that the appointment of Upa Lokayukta is void ab initio (to be treated as invalid from the outset). The Karnataka high court had on April 3 last year quashed the appointment of justice Chandrashekaraiah as the Upa Lokayukta holding that the selection procedure was "not in conformity with law".
The high court had set aside the January 21 last year notification issued by the Karnataka government appointing Chandrashekariah as the Upa Lokayukta.
The bench had said that the selection procedure adopted by Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda "is not in conformity with law and hence the appointment is illegal, unconstitutional and void".
It had also urged the state government and chief minister to expeditiously start a fresh selection process as mandated by the Lokayukta Act to find a new Upa Lokayukta as the post cannot be held vacant for long.
The court had also suggested guidelines for the selection in which Chief Justice's opinion will have primacy.