Dhankhar seeks response from state govt on ‘flaws’ in re-appointment of Lokayukta

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar today clarified that files pertaining to the re-appointment of the Lokyukta, Justice Ashim Kumar Roy (retd.) is not pending with him and instead reminded the state government that it is yet to send the information sought on the “flaws” in the appointment process.

Amidst allegation from the state government that Raj Bhavan refuses to send files back to the state government with an alleged intention of harassment, Mr Dhankhar today took to his social media handle to clarify that the file related to the re-appointment of the Lokyukta, Justice Ashim Kumar Roy, for another three years, is not pending with him. He remarked that several flaws exist in the appointment process.

He clarified that the government note dated 28 December, 2021, forwarded to his office on 29 December 2021 at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, and received at Raj Bhavan, Darjeeling on 30 December, indicates that accordingly, the file may now be sent to the Additional Chief Secretary to the Governor of West Bengal with the request to place the matter before the Governor for re-appointment of Justice (retired), Ashim Kumar Roy, Calcutta High Court as Lokayukta, West Bengal for a successive tenure of three years from 1st January.

He pointed out that there is, in the file, communication dated 22 December 2021 from the private secretary to Leader of the Opposition (Suvendu Adhikari), addressed to B. P. Gopalika, IAS, additional chief secretary of the state government’s Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms where it was indicated that the Leader of Opposition desires to have the information regarding the list of the candidates along with their professional career who have applied for, or given consent to the appointment of Lokayukta within 24th December 2021.

It was stated that the sought information be sent to Mr Adhikari within 24 December 2021, failing which, it will not be possible for him to attend such a meeting. Mr Dhankhar shared that a response was sent to the state government which stated that since no open notification in the matter is issued in such cases, there is as such no list of candidates while decision can only be taken in the meeting. It was pointed out that since only the retired judges can be appointed as Lokayukta, seeking details of their professional career from them is not desirable. It was stated that the leader of the Opposition may take up this issue in the meeting and also suggest suitable names.

He alleged that the communication dated 24 December 2021 does not indicate the source of the adjudicatory authority. “The proceedings at NSP 3 are not insightful enough as to which authority had taken a decision the communication dated 22 December 2021 issued under the directive of the Leader of the Opposition. It is also not reflected from the minutes of the Committee or the file that the communication was put up for consideration before the Committee.”

Mr Dhankhar said in such a situation, it was imperative to seek from the government information on the following: Under whose order the communication dated 22.December. 2021 was disposed of by taking a judgmental view on that communication? Which are the authorities involved in taking a view on the NSP and why was the communication dated 22 December not put up before the committee? He said these replies need to be forwarded to Raj Bhavan at the earliest.