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Now, Upalokayukta skips office

Ambarish B, Bengaluru: Dec 1, 2015, dhns 1:18 IST
Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi. DH file photo

Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi did not attend office on Monday as the Assembly Speaker on Friday admitted a motion for his ouster, moved by the ruling Congress.

Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao too faces a similar motion seeking his removal, and he has been on leave for the last four months since his son Yerabati Ashwin was arrested on charges of extortion in the Lokayukta office and official residence.

Another Upalokayukta’s post remains vacant. With this, the Lokayukta institution has become virtually headless, for the first time since its establishment 30 years ago.

In the wake of this sudden void, the fate of around 13,000 complaints pending before the Lokayukta hangs in the balance.

Sources said, registrar in-charge in the Lokayukta’s office, M S Balakrishna, has written to the Speaker’s office seeking clarity on whether Upalokayukta could attend office since the ouster motion has only been admitted but not referred to the Chief Justice of the High Court.

“The recently amended Lokayukta Act states the Lokayukta and the Upalokayukta will be divested of their administrative powers and duties once the motion is admitted. Though there are media reports that the Speaker has admitted both the motions on Friday, the same was not communicated to the institution,.” an official said.

He added that a letter has been dispatched to the Speaker seeking clarification on the issue.
Hence, Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi has decided not to attend office.

When contacted, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa said he has not received any letter from the Lokayukta’s office seeking any clarification.

He said he is examining the motions seeking the removal of the Lokayukta and Upalokayukta and will soon write to the Chief Justice of the High Court, urging him to conduct a probe into the charges.

Sources said that 12 fresh complaints were filed in the Lokayukta office on Monday. Of them seven come under the jurisdiction of Upalokayukta, and five under the Lokayukta.

In fact, there is more bad news for the institution which lacks a regular registrar.
The in-charge registrar’s term is coming to an end on December 31, 2015.

The state government has not taken steps to appoint a registrar, despite a High Court direction. “Until the pendency of the motions, the complaints filed will be adjourned. The registrar's term will be over in December and after that each case will be posted for a long date,'' the official said.

Monday was the last working day for two staffers at the Lokayukta office. Taking part in the send-off ceremony, the in-charge registrar called upon the staff to face the predicament the institution is in.

Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde told Deccan Herald that it was a sad state of affairs.

“It is very unfortunate that an institution, which is the only hope of an ordinary man who does not want to go to the courts, is now headless. The people in power just do not want this institution.

If the present government in Delhi can introduce such a toothless Jan Lokpal Bill, can't blame Congress Government here. I am sure the state government intends to bring back Lokayukta Bill, 2014. I am very saddened that while the whole country looked up to our Lokayukta Act as a model one, we are closing down (the institution) here,'' Justice Hegde said.

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