Chandigarh: Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab assembly Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday said Justice (retd) J S Sekhon should have declined to be the Punjab Lokpal for the sake of "moral and judicial propriety."

His brother, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, is a minister in the Punjab government, Jakhar said. "Besides, he happens to be related to the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as well," he said in a release in Chandigarh.

Questioning the mode and timing of the appointment of Lokpal in Punjab, Jakhar accused, "the way government recently appointed Justice Sekhon as the Lokpal just out of blue has raised doubts about the real intentions of the government on the issue."

Sekhon's appointment has defied moral and judicial propriety and the appointment smelt of partisan politics, he alleged.

"Suppose a complaint comes against his own brother Janmeja Sekhon as he happens to be a minister in the state government, how will he (Justice) act and decide the case in an impartial manner?" Jakhar asked.

The person appointed to head a constitutional body should not only be above board, but should also seem to be above board.

The Punjab government had, in an "apparent bid to circumvent the central law which is likely going to come into force soon, took recourse to the Punjab Lokpal Act which does not mandate taking the Leader of the Opposition into confidence," he alleged.

The new central law is on the top priority of the government and may be taken up in the next session of the Parliament. It clearly mandates that the Leader of the Opposition has to be taken into confidence before appointing the Lokpal, he said.

The Punjab government had on November 9 appointed former judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Jai Singh Sekhon as Lokpal of the state.

(Agencies)

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