PIL challenges Justice Tahilyani’s appointment as Maharashtra Lokayukta

PIL challenges Justice Tahilyani’s appointment as Maharashtra Lokayukta

A Bombay High Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A.K. Menon has sought the Maharashtra Government’s response to a Public Interest Litigation that has alleged ignorance of the procedure prescribed for appointment of the Lokayukta in the State.

The Bench directed the Additional Government Pleader Milind More to take instructions and inform the court as to when the Government will take the final decision on the appointment.

The PIL has been filed by activist I.G. Khandelwal challenging the proposed appointment of Justice M.L. Tahilyani as the new Lokayukta of the State. Justice Tahilyani is proposed to succeed Justice (retd.) P.B. Gaikwad whose 5-year term ended on July 1, 2014. As a judge, Mr. Tahaliyani has presided over several high profile cases, including the case of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and the trial of Gulshan Kumar murder case.

"Under the Act, approval of the Chief Justice of the High Court needs to be taken....The Chief Minister has no role to play in the appointment," Khandelwal argued.

He further argued that a sitting Judge cannot be appointed as a Lokayukta, when there are vacancies in the High Court itself.

Justice Tahilyani’s appointment has been approved by the State Governor, but the official order is yet to be issued.