Supreme Court gives one week to Nagaland Lokayukta to resign
Kohima: Nagaland Lokayukta Uma Nath Singh was on Monday advised by the Supreme Court to resign from the post, giving him a week time to quit the post. “We don”t understand this. How can a person be a Lokayukta while sitting in Delhi just because this is pandemic times,” a bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said.
The Bench suggested that the state’s anti-corruption ombudsman should give up the post, as per reports. “We do not think you have been or can function properly (as Lokayukta) with this kind of relation with the government. We want to tell you, we do not agree with you all. You cannot sit somewhere and dictate terms [Justice Singh wants to function as Nagaland Lokayukta while staying in Delhi]. Everyone would then sit at home, say in Tamil Nadu, and function as Lokayukta of Jammu and Kashmir," the bench said.
The Apex court was hearing a plea filed by the state government which raised questions over the functioning of Lokayukta. “When there is no dignity in continuing, why go through all this and insist to continue at any cost?” the bench asked the former judge’s lawyer Vikas Singh.
The Nagaland government had sought the removal of the Lokayukta from his office alleging various acts of impropriety and unjustified personal demands. The petition also mentioned that the Lokayukta has continued to work online from Delhi despite the chief secretary's disapproval.
Representing the state in the court was its advocate general KN Balagopal. “He (Lokayukta) wants to shift to Delhi and does not want to commute five km from his residence to office in the state. He is a non-performing Lokayukta,” Balagopal said. The advocate general maintained that the former judge’s assumption of office as Lokayukta flouted the law because he did not discontinue his arbitration work despite it being an office of profit, and further produced records of cases pending before the Lokayukta.
The Lokayukta’s lawyer responded that due to Covid-19, Singh had insisted on doing his work from Delhi. However, the bench refused to agree to this, and the case was adjourned for a week to give time to the Lokayukta time to ponder over his willingness to quit the Lokayukta office.