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PIL in Delhi High Court seeks immediate appointment of Lokayukta

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A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government in the national capital to immediately appoint the Lokayukta, in spirit of the promises made by it in its 2020 Assembly Election Manifesto.

The PIL, filed by Delhi BJP leader and practicing lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, alleged that the post in question was lying vacant since December 2020, when Justice Reva Khetrapal retired as Delhi Lokayukta, leading to hundreds of complaints relating to corruption remaining pending in the office.

The plea pointed out that the Delhi Government promised appointment of an independent and effective Lokayukta not only in its 2020 Assembly Election Manifesto, but also in the 2015 and 2013 Assembly Election Manifesto. It states that the ruling government, which was formed after the historic Anna Movement seeking Lokpal at Centre, Lokayukta in State and Citizen Charter in every department, has not taken steps to amend the Lokayukta Act in spirit of the 2013 ‘Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act’ and continues using the outdated ineffective 1995 Act.

“The fulcrum of democracy is the fair electoral process. If the integrity of electoral process is compromised then the notion of representation becomes vacuous. Political parties are promising irrational freebies but not fulfilling essential promises. So, the danger to democracy and Indian republic cannot be gainsaid,” reads the plea.

Claiming that the Centre and the Election Commission of India have not taken any steps to regulate the functioning of political parties and their election manifestos, the petitioner has requested the Court to analyse whether political parties are really concerned about governance or do they cynically participate in evisceration of democratic electoral political process.

The petitioner has also highlighted India’s poor rank in the Corruption Perception Index- 2021 and thus sought a direction for weeding-out menace of corruption, black money generation, benami transaction in order to improve India’s “pathetic” ranking in Corruption Perception Index.

Alternatively, the petitioner has sought a direction to the Law Commission of India to examine anti-corruption laws of developed countries and to suggest steps to weed-out corruption, black money generation, money laundering, benami transactions and disproportionate assets.

The plea states thus: “The injury caused to people is extremely large because corruption is insidious plague, having wide range of corrosive effects on country. It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime like separatism, terrorism, naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering & extortion.”

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