Karnataka law minister TB Jayachandra has found himself in the midst of a controversy after the appointment of Shivamogga- based advocate P G Vijaya Kumar as the information commissioner of the state.
According to RTI activist Bhaskaran, the appointee is a relative of the law minister, hence a case of conflict of interest.
Apart from Jayachandra, the selection panel for the post included chief minister Siddaramaiah and leader of opposition and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar.
Bhaskaran claims that Jayachandra misled the CM and Shettar by telling them that Vijaya Kumar is a friend, whereas, they are co-brothers that is, Vijaya Kumar is the husband of Jayachandra's wife's sister.
Justice Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta said, â€śIf what the activist claims is true, then, Jayachandra had to recuse himself the moment he knew the candidates. Vijaya Kumar may be an eligible candidate or even the best, but in this scenario the selection should be considered null and void."
"I have been following the appointment very closely for a few months now. Since this emerged, I am going to move the high court seeking a review of the selection procedure and the relation between the two. If it is proven that they are relatives, then the appointment has to be quashed,â€ť Bhaskaran said.
â€śIn fact what is surprising is that on Thursday, the governor had cleared names of NP Ramesh, KM Chandre Gowda, PG Vijaya Kumar, and Suchetana Swaroop for the posts of information commissioners and Jayachandra, who is also an advocate, pushed Vijaya Kumarâ€™s name saying he is a close friend,â€ť he said.
According to the Hegde, when one of the selection panelistâ€™s close friend or a relative is an aspirant, the procedure is that the panellist concerned has to recuse himself from the process and another cabinet minister should replace him.
T B Jayachandra was not available for a response at the time of writing this article.