The Supreme Court today sought Uttar Pradesh government’s stand on a petition challenging a two-year extension granted to state Lokayukta Justice (Retd) N K Mehrotra.
A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice to the government on the plea filed by a Lucknow-based lawyer who contended that the extension is illegal as Lokayukta’s tenure cannot be more than six years, which ended on March 15.
The petitioner Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui, in his plea filed through advocate Suruchi Aggarwal, contended that under the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act, a person can hold the offices only for six years but Mehrota was given the two-year extension more than a week after his tenure ended.
“The act provides that the term for which Lokayukta shall hold office would be 6 years. Sub Section 3 of Section 5 provides that on ceasing to hold the office, the Lokayukta or Up-Lokayukta shall be ineligible for further appointment, whether as a Lokayukta or Up-lokayukta or in any other capacity under the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
“Justice Mehrotra completed his term of 6 years on March 15, 2012 and ceased to hold the office thereafter. Further, he incurred disqualification under the Act,” he submitted in his petition.
Mehrotra was appointed as UP lokayukta on March 16, 2006 and his tenure ended on March 15 this year. But on March 22 the state government promulgated an ordinance whereby the Act was amended and the term of the Lokayukta was extended to 8 years effective from March 15.
“Once he ceased to hold the office and has incurred a disqualification for further re-employment, the subsequent amendment cannot and has not removed the disqualification incurred,” the petitioner alleged.