New Delhi, Jan 28: Supreme Court today recalled its December 16 order appointing controversial Justice Virendra Singh, a former judge of Allahabad High Court, as Lokayukta and named another retired judge as new ombudsman of Uttar Pradesh, terming the state government's statement on the issue as "somewhat inaccurate".
Appointing Justice Sanjay Misra as new Lokayukta, the apex court bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi termed as "unfortunate" the inability of constitutional functionaries like the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of the High Court to arrive at a consensual name as head of ombudsman.
"We are persuaded to hold that our order appointing Justice Virendra Singh (Retd) as Lokayukta was on the basis of the statement made on behalf of the state of Uttar Pradesh which now appears to be somewhat inaccurate.
"The picture that emanates from the above narration of facts is hazy, unclear and uncertain and we are left in serious doubt as to whether the constitutional/statutory functionaries or at least two of them had, at all, agreed on any name or names.
"It is unfortunate that constitutional/statutory functionaries, in spite of prolonged and extended meetings, continued to have serious differences on a relatively simple issue i.e. appointment of the Lokayukta," the bench, also comprising Justice PC Panta, said.
The bench picked out Justice Misra for the post as his name figured in the list of probables prepared by the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of the High Court.
While recalling its order appointing Justice Singh as Lokayukta, the court considered its 2002 judgement that had accorded "primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice in the consultative process for appointment of Lokayukta".
"...we are inclined to recall our order dated December 16, 2015 and instead appoint Justice Sanjay Misra (Retired Judge of Allahabad High Court) as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.
In making the aforesaid appointment, we have taken note of the fact that the name of Justice Sanjay Misra appears in the common list of names that were discussed as mentioned in the letters of the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Chief Minister referred to above," it said.