The Supreme Court today reserved verdict on pleas seeking recall of its order appointing Justice Virendra Singh, a former judge of Allahabad High Court, as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh, saying it has been “misled” on the issue.
The controversy surrounding Justice Singh, appointed by the apex court as Lokayukta on the ground that the selection panel of the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of the High Court did not appoint anybody in last 20 months despite its orders, took the centre stage in the proceedings.
“Certainly not,” the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said when senior advocate T R Andhyarujina submitted as to whether Justice Singh would have been appointed by it if the state had apprised the court about the reservations of the High Court Chief Justice against him.
Andhyarujina said, “the Chief Justice suspected the integrity of Justice (Virendra) Singh” and it was agreed to by the Chief Minister and the Leader of Opposition that his name will be dropped, but still his name was given to this court.
“They have misled us. We will deal with them,” the bench said, adding that still, it will not send the issue of appointment back to the collegium.
“There is no question of primacy of views of the Chief Justice. The Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice did not do anything for 20 months...whatever is appropriate, we will do. Leave it to us,” the bench said.
“We will respect the opinion of the Chief Justice of the High Court. Give us the material. They did not do anything for 20 months.
“The moment we appointed somebody, all hell broke loose. The unfortunate part of this is that all the parties did not act...We are used to being blamed. Blame us. We don’t bother about all this,” the bench said, adding that the selection panel did not “respect” the orders leading to a “painful” situation.
At the outset, the bench, which also comprised Justice Prafulla C Pant, made clear that it is not going to vacate its order appointing Justice Singh as Lokayukta till there were compelling circumstances to do so.
“Unless there are compelling reasons, shocking our conscience, we will not vacate our order,” it said.