Goa finally got its first Lokayukta with Justice B Sudershan Reddy sworn in by governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan on Saturday, even as 100-odd people protested over the alleged non-transparent manner of selection. The protesters were stopped near the NIO circle at Dona Paula.
Reddy, a former Supreme Court judge, took oath at 3.30pm in a ceremony that took less than 10 minutes and which began with chief secretary B Vijayan reading out the warrant of appointment. While briefly addressing reporters, Reddy refused to take any questions, saying he would speak formally to the media at a later date. "I will not take any questions today, but I will tell you that I'm visiting Goa after 19 years. I do not know any single individual. I have met the governor and the CM for the first time right in your presence," said the 66-year-old.
He added, "I shall to the best of my ability try to serve the people of Goa through the judicial process for which I have spent 42 years of my life, without any ill will or without any affection, of course without any fear. For the present, I shall start actually discharging my duties after a couple of weeks because I have to tie up certain things, including my staff, my office, etc."
He said he will work to "arrest and curb the menace of corruption".
Chief minister Manohar Parrikar said he met Reddy for the first time at the swearing-in and that he has issued instructions that the Lokayukta should be provided with whatever he needs to start functioning. He added that the controversial amendments passed during the previous assembly had not been notified yet.
Asked about SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan's draft for fresh amendments to the Lokayukta Act to bring it in line with Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act, Parrikar said he had received the draft but had not found the time to go through it. From Parrikar's tone and statements today, it appears unlikely that the government is giving any serious consideration to Bhushan's draft, despite the CM having personally asked Bhushan to submit the same.
Reddy's family, including wife B Padmalatha Reddy, were among those present at the swearing-in along with a few ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats. Opposition Congress legislators, including opposition leader Pratapsingh Rane, were conspicuous by their absence. [TOI]