Is the views of the Chief Justice have primacy in the matter of appointment of Lokayukta ?
Excerpts from judgement rendered by:
B.S.CHAUHAN;FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA, JJ.
State of Gujarat And Ors. Vs. Hon’ble Mr. Justice (Retd) Ramesh Amritlal Mehta And Ors.’ [Dated : March 14, 2013] [Court:Supreme]
Each State has adopted different eligibility criteria, method of selection, consultative procedures etc., in the matter of appointment of Lokayuktas and Upa- Lokayuktas in their respective States.[para 11]
Every Statute has, therefore, to be construed in the context of the scheme of the Statute as a whole, consideration of context, it is trite, is to give meaning to the legislative intention according to the terms in which it has been expressed.”
Para 13. As regards the process of consultation, it was again held that consultation is not a formality but should be meaningful, effective and primacy of opinion is always vested with the High Court or the Chief Justice of the State High Court or the collegium of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of India, as the case may be, when a person has to hold a judicial office and discharge functions akin to judicial functions.
What Is the Process of Consultation Followed for the Appointment of Lokayuktha / Upalokayuktha in the State of Karnataka / Other States?
In Karnataka : it is for the Chief Minister to advise the Governor for appointment of a Lokayukta after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, the Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council, the Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council and the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. While, as per the provision itself, it is for the Chief Minister to advice the Governor, the collegium for consultation consists of as many as five other members, including the Chief Justice of the High Court. The same is the procedure for appointment of Upa- Lokayukta under Section 3(2)(b) of the Karnataka Act.[para 5]
“Section 3(2)(a) and (b) when read literally and contextually admits of no doubt that the Governor of the State can appoint Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta only on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister and that the Chief Justice of the High Court is only one of the consultees and his views have no primacy. The Governor, as per the statute, can appoint only on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister and not on the opinion expressed by the Chief Justice or any of the consultees.”
OTHER STATES: PARA12. in the States of Assam, Delhi and in particular Gujarat, the Chief Ministers can participate in the process and could express their views and that the Chief Justices of the respective High Courts alone have PRIMACY in the matter of appointment of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta. It was further noted that while in the States of Chhattisgarh, Haryana etc., the appointment is made by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister while in the State of Kerala under the Act the Chief Justice is not even a consultee at all.
Para 11. The later judgment has also considered similar such provisions contained in Andhra Pradesh Lokayukta Act, 1983, Assam Lokayukta and Upalokayukta Act 1985, Bihar Lokayukta Act 1973, Chhattisgarh Lok Aayog Adhyadesh, 2002, Delhi Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act 1995, Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986, Jharkhand Lokayukta Act, 2001, Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002 and Kerala Lokayukta Act, 1999 and held that each State has adopted different eligibility criteria, method of selection, consultative procedures etc., in the matter of appointment of Lokayuktas and Upa- Lokayuktas in their respective States.