Govt rejects Lokayukta proposals

Govt rejects Lokayukta proposals

Turned down: No need to give ombudsman more publicity

 The Delhi government has turned down almost all the recommendations made by the office of Delhi Lokayukta in its latest annual report, finding no merit even in the ombudsman's suggestion that its existence should be better publicised.

The Delhi Lokayukta's report for 2010-11 was tabled in the Delhi Assembly – along with a memorandum of action taken by the state government on its suggestions – by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit earlier this week. 

 Even recommendations like giving Lokayukta the power to waive the fee charged for filing a complaint before it, and running an awareness campaign about the office of the Lokayukta through print and electronic media have been rejected,  according to the the government's `action taken' report.

At present, anybody filing a complaint has to deposit Rs 500. Delhi Lokayukta Justice, Manmohan Sarin, has suggested that he should be given the power to exempt any deserving complainant from paying the fee, as the common man for whom this institution is created should feel unencumbered in approaching him.

However, the government rejected it on the grounds that the abolition or reduction of the fee might lead to an increase in the number of frivolous complaints. On the suggestion of launching an awareness campaign, the government only said that “no action is called for.”

The Lokayukta had pushed for the appointment of a deputy or Uplokayukta for effective functioning of the institution but the Delhi government rejected it, saying the “volume of work with the Lokayukta is very limited.”

The Lokayukta complained that further investigations are generally made on a report submitted by the institution before the government initiates any action against public functionaries. The government excused itself, saying according to established conventions, penal action against any functionary can be taken by the appointing authority, and not by the inquiry officers.

The government rejected the view that IAS officers posted as Director or Managing Director of government companies should be brought under the Lokayukta’s ambit as in that position they acted as public functionaries.

The government countered that the civil servants are already under the purview of Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation and other agencies and laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995 empowers the Lokayukta to suggest improvements in practices and procedures, which in his opinion, afford an opportunity for corruption or maladministration. But it is up to the state government to accept the recommendations.