Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar:The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Odisha government to complete the process for appointment of Lokayukta in the State within next two months.

A detailed report on the progress made in appointment of Lokayukta was presented by the State government in the apex court today. The move to appoint the anti-corruption watchdog comes almost four and a half years after passing of the Lokayukta Act.

The Apex court had earlier directed the Odisha Chief Secretary to submit a status report on steps taken for appointment of a Lokayukta before July 10.

Earlier on Monday, the state government issued a gazetted notification on formation of a ‘search committee’ for appointment of the Lokayukta.

As per the notification, a selection committee will be formed under the chairmanship of CM Naveen Patnaik with Assembly Speaker and Opposition leaders as members.

All the three members of the selection committee shall suggest names for the fourth member and send it for Governor’s nod.

This apart, the selection committee will also constitute another five- member search committee to shortlist names of candidates for Lokayukta and its members. These names will be then recommended to the selection committee.

The Supreme Court in its April 19 order had stated that Odisha government in an affidavit submitted on April 9, this year had informed that Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014 has come into force with effect from January 16, 2015 and process for framing of the Odisha Search Committee Rules were under process.

The issue had then kicked off sharp political row with the Opposition parties training their guns on the state government alleging it of making contradictory and misleading statements over the enforcement of Lokayukta Act in the state.

Worth mentioning that Odisha was the first state to pass a bill to set up the anti-corruption body, after unanimously passing a bill on the same in the Assembly on February 2014 . It had received the President’s nod on January 28, 2015