Justice Gill as Punjab lokpal: SAD-BJP meet governor to stall move, call him Congressman
Sukhbir Singh Badal said the lokpal should be a person of impeccable character and as per the Punjab Lokpal Act, the occupant shall not be connected with any political party.Updated: Aug 10, 2018 10:02 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab government’s proposal to appoint Justice (retd) Mehtab Singh Gill as Punjab Lokpal has become a bone of contention between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance, with a delegation of coalition leaders on Thursday approaching governor VP Singh Badnore to stall the move.
Terming Justice Gill a Congressman, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “The institution of lokpal should be above board, and anyone against whom aspersions are cast can’t be appointed for the post.”
He said the lokpal should be a person of impeccable character and as per the Punjab Lokpal Act (1996), the occupant shall not be connected with any political party. “Why use a former judge as a tool against the opposition?” questioned Sukhbir.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar reacted to this, saying, “Calling Justice Gill a Congressman is disrespect to the person who had held the post of a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court. The Akalis fear that with Gill’s appointment, skeletons will start tumbling out of their cupboard.”
The delegation, led by Sukhbir and BJP general secretary Parveen Bansal, submitted a memorandum to the governor, giving details of Justice Gill’s purported association with the Congress and Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The SAD has also submitted a representation to Punjab and Haryana high court on the matter, seeking a review of the decision. The Punjab government has moved a formal case to the HC for a formal nod. “We are waiting for HC’s nod, to appoint Justice Gill as Lokpal,” said a state government functionary.
The lokpal’s post is vacant since April, when Justice (retd) Satish Kumar Mittal had resigned to join as the Haryana Human Rights Commission chairman. Mittal was appointed lokpal in 2016 when Justice (retd) Jai Singh Sekhon, an elder brother of former Akali minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, passed away. The Congress had objected to Sekhon’s appointment in 2012.
Justice Gill as head of commission of inquiry constituted by the Amarinder Singh government to probe cases registered during the Akali-BJP regime had cancelled several cases.
“As judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court Justice Gill was accused of malpractices using his influence with tainted former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu to get jobs for his kin,” said Sukhbir. He also told the governor that Justice Gill had provided his Charik village residence in Moga to Capt Amarinder Singh (then Punjab Congress president) during the 2013 Moga byelection. “Before 2017 assembly elections, Amarinder had appointed Justice Gill as members of the party’s manifesto committee,” adds Sukhbir.
‘Gill-Khaira hand in glove: SAD chief
The SAD president also claimed thatJustice Gill was hand in glove with former leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, as Gill’s candidature as lokpal was approved by the Aam Aadmi Party leader.
“Now that Khaira has been unceremoniously removed as leader of opposition, his candidature needs to be reviewed,” said Sukhbir. “Justice Gill had as head of the commission of inquiry cancelled 17 cases registered against Khaira and his supporters.”
First Published: Aug 10, 2018 10:02 IST