The Allahabad high court on Monday directed lokayukta justice (retd) NK Mehrotra and the state government to file their respective replies within three weeks on a petition challenging the extension of the term of the anti-graft ombudsman.
The court also fixed September 27 as the next date for hearing of the case. Passing the order, a division bench of justice Sunil Ambwani and justice Aditya Nath Mittal rejected the objection raised by the state government against the maintainability of the petition filed by one Mukul Upadhyay.
"It is the duty of the government to justify the appointment, and more particularly when the appointment is made statutorily with certain safeguards. In the present case appointment under the act has to be made with the consent of the chief justice of the high court and the leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly," the bench said.
Upholding the maintainability of the petition, the court observed, "Any ordinary citizen can apply for a writ of quo-warranto to challenge an appointment to a public office even though he himself is not a candidate for that office or has any personal interest in such appointment.
Upadhyay had requested the court to issue a writ of quo-warranto directing Mehrotra to show as to under which authority he was continuing to hold the office of lokayukta and withdrawing salary and allowances.
The petitioner had also requested the court to declare the provision of Section 5 of the UP Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act 1975 as unconstitutional by which the term of Mehrotra was extended for a period of two years.