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Former SC judge Santosh Hegde unhappy over delay in Lokpal appointment

why is the opposition keeping quiet? asks Hegde

Prime News, Nation, (Hyderabad), January 17:-Retired Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde has expressed indignation over the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal even four years after the enactment of the law for setting up the anti-corruption institution.

The former Lokayukta of Karnataka also criticised political parties for keeping quiet on the issue.

“The party in power does not want the anti-corruption ombudsman as it is afraid that if the truth comes out from Lokpal’s office it will be in trouble,” he alleged.

“The present prime minister Narendra Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, did not appoint a Lokayukta there.

Ultimately, the High Court of Gujarat directed for the appointment. The attitude seems to be the same here (at the Centre),” Hegde told PTI.

He sought to know why the opposition was keeping quiet over the issue.

“Very unfortunate,” he said, adding that when it comes to the Lokayukta or Lokpal, no party wants it because “everybody is sailing in the same boat.” “I can understand why the government is keeping quiet because it does not like it…the evidence is there in Gujarat. But why is the opposition keeping quiet? It’s as much their responsibility to see to it that the law is enforced.

They are party to the law,” said the former solicitor general of India.

Hegde said he had seen the importance of the office of Lokayukta, Lokpal.

“You can do a lot of good things there; people-friendly decisions can be taken there; otherwise, for everything people should run to a court of law,” he said.

Under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act-2013, the ombudsmen are to be appointed at the Centre and in states for inquiring into the allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

But the appointment of the Lokpal is stuck in procedural wrangling.

Hegde said the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, who is a member of the selection committee to pick the Lokpal, being cited as the reason coming in the way of the appointment was nothing but an excuse.

The Lokpal proponents point out that the Supreme Court last year ruled that the government can go ahead with the appointment without an official Leader of Opposition.

On social activist Anna Hazare threatening to revive his struggle in March, Hegde, who was a key part of his anti- corruption movement in 2011, said he was unaware of the proposed move.

Hazare had recently said he would undertake a fast from March 23 in Delhi if his demand for passing “proper” bills for the Lokpal, Lokayukta and electoral reforms were not met.

Asked if he would be willing to be a part of Hazare’s movement again, Hegde said, “It depends on what exactly is his object”.

On whether Hazare would be able to attract public support this time also, Hegde said it depends on what move he makes, and recalled that the last time around it was the middle class which supported his movement.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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