A Public Interest Litigation filed in the Karnataka High Court challenging the appointment of former Judge B S Patil, of the High Court, as Upa-Lokayukta of Karnataka.
The petition filed by Samaj Parivarthana Samudaya, through their advocate S Basavaraj states that plea is filed "To maintain institutional integrity of the public institution meant for prevention and eradication of corruption in the State of Karnataka."
The petitioner is a voluntary organisation working in Karnataka, and other parts of India since 1984. It works in close co-operation with several other voluntary organisations, networks and movements, to promote actions with people's power of participation on a broader scale towards social transformation and to bring about larger collective impacts on the governmental policies, deliberated legislations and programmes for human-wellbeing.
The petition says there was no consultation whatsoever let alone simultaneous or individual consultation. As a matter of fact, the State Government demonstrates its audacity in saying that the Chief Justice recommended one person and that the same was brought to the notice of the other consultees and that all four consultees have chosen the 4 th respondent. The letter makes it clear that the file pertaining to the 4 th respondent was not placed before the Chief Justice for consolation, let alone meaningful consultation as declared by the Supreme Court.
The Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta under the Act are established to investigate and report on allegations or grievances relating to the conduct of public servants which includes the Chief Minister; all other Ministers and Members of the State Legislature; etc. Governor, as per Section 3(2)(a), is empowered to appoint Lokayukta on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, the Chairman, Karnataka Legislative Council, the Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council and the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
It is submitted that the office of Upa-Lokayukta fell vacant on the retirement of Shri. Subhash B Adi, former Judge High Court of Karnataka. On March 1, 2018, the then Chief Minister initiated steps for filling up that vacancy. On July 24, 2018, he addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, requesting to suggest a panel of eligible persons for appointment as Upa-Lokayukta. The then Chief Justice of Karnataka, suggested the name of Justice A.N. Venugopalagouda, former Judge, High Court of Karnataka.
On June 20, 2019, the Chief Minister of Karnataka addressed a letter to the present
Chief Justice of Karnataka requesting to name an eligible person for being considered to the office of Karnataka, Upa Lokayukta. Justice Oka addressed a letter to the Chief Minister reiterated the recommendation made by his predecessor.
On November 12, the Chief Minister addressed a letter to Justice Oka, acknowledging the recommendation of A.N. Venugopala Gowda, and informing the Chief Justice that "the process of consultation of all the other four authorities, have recommended, Justice Patil, to be appointed as Upa-Lokayukta. The recommendation of Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda has been brought to the notice of the above four authorities".
Justice Oka replied by writing a letter dated November 14, to the Chief Minister, referring to earlier recommendations and stating that "there was no material" placed before the Chief Justice by the State Government "warranting change of the recommendation earlier made" by the Chief Justice and his predecessor and that the Chief Justice maintains the recommendation.