Monday, December 31, 2007

Lokayukta to take oath today
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Justice N.K. Sud Chandigarh, January 15
Former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Justice N.K. Sud, who resigned yesterday, will take oath as the new Lokayukta of Haryana tomorrow morning. He will be administered the oath of office by the Governor, Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai, at a ceremony at the Haryana Raj Bhavan.

Hailing from a family of lawyers — his father, Mr Durga Dutt Sud, was a well-known lawyer at Jalandhar — Justice Sud was born on July 23, 1944. The family originally hails from Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh.

Having studied law at Panjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Sud entered the legal profession in 1965. He was a leading taxation lawyer at Jalandhar before his elevation as Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He took oath as High Court Judge in May 1999.

In his new role as Lokayukta of Haryana, Justice Sud will hear and decide complaints against senior Haryana Government functionaries, including the Chief Minister, ministers and officials. He will have a five-year tenure as the Lokayukta.

The post of Lokayukta, Haryana, has been vacant since September 18, 1999, when the then incumbent Justice I.P. Vashishth was unceremoniously removed by the previous Om Prakash Chautala government.

Justice Vashishth, who was appointed the Lokayukta on January 1, 1999, by the Bansi Lal government for five years, was removed by the Chautala government just two months after it came into power. The Chautala government had repealed the Haryana Lok Pal Act, 1997, through an Ordinance.

A PIL had been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to the Haryana Government to appoint a Lokayukta.

The government initiated the process of appointment of Lokayukta only after a Division Bench of the High Court, headed by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, on February 25, 2004, directed it to appoint a Lokayukta within six months. On a contempt plea preferred by the petitioner in the PIL, Mr Naresh Kadyan of Rohtak, seeking action against the Chief Secretary, Haryana, for not implementing the February 25 order of the High Court, the High Court has issued a contempt notice to the Chief Secretary.

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