Powers to Lokayukta: politicos may be spared
CM, cabinet ministers, legislators, MPs to be out of Lokayukta ambit
The State Government seems to be inclined to safeguard the political class, while bringing the entire bureaucracy, including the Chief Secretary and the Secretary rank officers, under the ambit of the Lokayukta as far as its suo motu powers are concerned.
It is learnt that in a proposal prepared by the Government on giving suo moto powers to the Lokayukta institution, it has been decided to keep Chief Minister, cabinet ministers, legislators and Members of Parliament out of the ambit of the Lokayukta.
However, other elected representatives like corporators and councillors, may come under the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta, according to sources.
If the proposal is to be implemented, the State Legislature has to amend Section 7 of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act. Presently, the Lokayukta does not have suo moto powers to take up investigation against anybody. But he can take action on a complaint. In 1986, the government withdrew the suo moto power. But Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has sought suo moto powers from the Government.
Chief Minister Yeddyurappa had convened a meeting of the floor leaders on Wednesday to discuss the ways and means of empowering the Lokayukta. Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and Motamma, JD (S) leaders H D Revanna and M C Nanaiah were present.
The Government is for fulfilling all other demands, including empowering the Lokayukta to cut all monetary benefits if legislators refuse to file their annual assets and liabilities, it is said.
Siddaramaiah refused to speak to media, but JD (S) leader M C Nanaiah said his party favoured suo moto power to the Lokayukta.
Hegde has already sent a proposal to the government suggesting the amendments to be made to the Lokayukta Act, Nanaiah said.
Asked whether there was any unanimity on empowering the Lokayukta, Nanaiah replied in the negative. The Government did not make its mind clear. The CM told the meeting that he would place the matter before the State Cabinet, he added.
In the Assembly, H D Revanna said his party has demanded the government award the Lokayukta suo moto powers to act upon all politicians including the Chief Minister. “If we politicians are prompt, no officer will be corrupt. The Lokayukta should have powers to act on all officers and people’s representatives”, he said.
Speaking to reporters, Yeddyurappa announced that the Government will soon appoint Upalokayukta in three to four days, he added.
The post of Upa Lokayukta has been vacant for the last seven months -- ever since the term of Justice Patri Basanagouda ended. Filling up this post has been one of the major demands of Karnataka Lokayukta justice Santosh Hegde, who had recently resigned from this post protesting inaction on the Government’s part to strengthen the institution.