Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav called on Chief Justice DY Chandrachud of the Allahabad high court on Wednesday evening, apparently to clarify his government’s stand after the Supreme Court appointed Justice (retired) Virendra Singh Yadav as the state’s new lokayukta.
The Chief Justice was upset over developments preceding the top court’s decision.
Sources said he sent a letter to the governor, recording details of a meeting of the three-member committee which met twice since Tuesday to decide on a new lokayukta or anti-corruption ombudsman. He along with the chief minister and leader of the Opposition, Swami Prasad Maurya, was a member of the panel.
The Chief Justice was apparently unhappy because he had strong reservations over Yadav being proposed for the post and the chief minister reportedly had assured him that the retired judge’s name would not be pushed.
But sources said the chief minister batted for Yadav at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday.
For his part, the Chief Justice proposed the names of retired judges SU Khan, Devendra Pratap Singh, Amar Saran and Sunil Halli.
The chief minister expressed his reservations over Khan, who was one of the three judges who had delivered the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. Sources said he told the meeting he did not know much about the other four judges and insisted on Yadav’s name.
As there was no agreement, the meeting was adjourned for Wednesday morning.
When the three members met again at the assigned hour, the chief minister assured the Chief Justice that his government would not push Yadav’s name.
Instead, he proposed four names: retired judges Imtiyaz Murtaza, Zaki Ullah Khan, Kalimullah Khan and Sanjay Mishra. Later, sitting judge AN Mittal was also added to the list.
Later when the Supreme Court asked the state government for names, the Chief Justice was shocked to find that the state government had proposed five candidates, including Yadav, sources said.
The top court, thereafter, appointed Yadav as the lokayukta.
Officials described the chief minister’s visit to the Chief Justice home as courtesy call. But sources said the chief minister tried to clarify his government’s point, saying there could be a communication gap in proposing the name of Yadav before the top court.