Hegde bows to pressure, for the 2nd time within a year

Hegde bows to pressure, for the 2nd time within a year

Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, had threatened to leave the panel after his success in checking corruption in Karnataka was questioned by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

Hegde had quit as Karnataka Lokayukta on June 23 last year upset at "non-cooperation" of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state in the fight against graft. For ten days he refused to budge, ignoring appeals from hundreds of people in Karnataka, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular parties in the state, central home minister P. Chidambaram and BJP president Nitin Gadkari and a somewhat reluctant Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. However, a phone call from senior BJP leader L.K. Advani made him change his mind.

"He is like a father figure to me. I cannot say no to him," Hegde said July 3 announcing he was withdrawing his resignation.

He faced flak for not bowing to public pressure but to a phone call from Advani.
Hegde was quick to control the damage saying he was sorry and he did not mean to say that he had no regard for appeals from the public. He acknowledged that the public pressure had played a role in making him change his mind.

This time, however, Hegde would not face any flak. He had only announced that he was thinking of quitting the draft panel as he was "hurt" by Digvijay's comments and would take a final decision after consulting other civil society members on the panel.

Hegde was born on June 16, 1940 at Nitte, now in Udupi district on Karnataka's west coast. His father, K.S. Hegde, was also a lawyer and later judge of the Supreme Court. The senior Hegde served as BJP vice president and also as Lok Sabha speaker.

Nitte Santosh Hegde started law practice in Bangalore in January 1966 and was designated a senior advocate in May 1984. He was Karnataka's advocate general from 1984 to 1988, additional solicitor general of India for 11 months from December 1989, solicitor general of India for about eight months in 1998 and was appointed a Supreme Court judge on Jan 8, 1999.

He retired in 2005 and for a short period headed the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal. Hegde became Karnataka Lokayukta in August 2006. His five-year term ends in about three months.