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Punjab Govt. appoints Lokayukta amid controversy

Punjab Govt. appoints Lokayukta amid controversyChandigarh, Nov 16 : Justice Jai Singh Sekhon, a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was sworn in as the Lokayukta of Punjab in Chandigarh on Friday. The Governor of Punjab, Shivraj Patil, administered the oath of office to Justice Sekhon.

However, Justice Sekhon''s appointment has stirred a controversy with the opposition Congress Party contending that he has political affiliations with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Reacting to the Congress' objections, Badal said that everyone may have someone or the other as a relation, but this does not mean he or she is not eligible for coveted assignments. "He has no relation and he is a judge.

There are so many high court judges and I know both the candidates who were considered. They (Congress) should not do this," said Badal. Seeking review of appointment of Sekhon as the Lokayukta, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Captain (retired) Amarinder Singh claimed that the former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge's affiliation with the ruling party is well known, leaving no doubt that the office could be `misused' for settling scores with political rivals.

Amarinder Singh charged the state government with violating prevailing norms by not consulting the Leader of Opposition on the issue of selecting the Lokayukta for the state. After the swearing-in ceremony, however, Justice Sekhon clarified that he had no political affiliation and asserted that he would perform his duties in a logical manner and as per the prescribed legalities. "I have no political affiliation, though my brother is a cabinet minister. I will give due allegiance to the oath I have taken today, so I will administer whatever my powers are, impartially," said Justice Sekhon. (ANI)