Former judge of Jharkhand HC Harish Chandra Mishra named Delhi Lokayukta
Retired Jharkhand high court judge Harish Chandra Mishra has been appointed as the Lokayukta of Delhi, according to a notification approved by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
The post of Lokayukta in Delhi was lying vacant since the retirement of Rewa Khetrapal in December 2020.
The notification announcing Mishra’s appointment as Delhi’s new Lokayukta was issued on March 15. Mishra will hold office for a term of five years from the date of his joining. He was also the acting chief justice of Jharkhand high court.
Last month, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi told the Delhi high court that the process of appointing a Lokayukta was going on.
The submission was made in response to a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the AAP government to appoint within one month a Lokayukta as promised by the party in its election manifesto in 2020.
In the PIL, it was alleged that hundreds of complaints relating to corruption were pending in the office of the Lokayukta as the post had been vacant for more than a year. The opposition parties had also been targeting the AAP government for not appointing the Lokayukta.
Khetrapal was appointed Lokayukta in November 2015 by then lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. In 2019, Khetrapal sparked a controversy when on January 11, she sent notices to all 70 MLAs of Delhi asking them to submit documents related to their assets and liabilities for the past three years.
The notice was sent after Vivek Garg, an advocate and an RTI activist linked to the BJP, complained to the ombudsman that AAP MLAs had not furnished such details ever since their election. Seeking the details of only AAP legislators, Garg said they ought to do so because they were “public servants”.
However, on January 28, 2019, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) legislators collectively refused to declare their assets and liabilities as demanded by the state Lokayukta. They sent counter affidavits instead, calling the anti-corruption ombudsman’s demand “illegal”.
Before Khetrapal, Justice (retired) Manmohan Sarin was the Lokayukta of Delhi who retired from the post in 2013.
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