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J&K among 12 states asked why they have not appointed Lokayukta

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New Delhi, Mar 23: The Supreme Court today asked the chief secretaries of 12 states to specify why they have not appointed a Lokayukta.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi also asked the Chief Secretary of Odisha to apprise the court about the status of the Lokayukta in state and said the apex court has no information whether it has an anti-corruption ombudsman or not.

The 12 states which have been asked to give reasons for not appointing a  Lokayukta are Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal.

The apex court also asked the 12 states to specify by when they would appoint a Lokayukta.

Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, states that every state shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta.

The apex court was hearing a PIL, which also sought a direction to the states to provide adequate budgetary allocation and essential infrastructure for effective functioning of Lokayuktas.

According to the PIL, filed by advocate and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, received presidential assent on January 01, 2014 and came into force from January 16, 2014 but the executive has not established a Lokpal yet.

According to the petitioner, many state governments are “deliberately weakening” the Lokayukta by not providing adequate infrastructure, sufficient budget and workforce.