Krishna moves apex court against Lokayukta probe

Krishna moves apex court against Lokayukta probe

Krishna moves apex court against Lokayukta probe

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court order that allows Lokayukta probe against him for allegedly aiding illegal mining during his chief ministership between 1999 and 2004.

Seeking quashing of the order, Krishna submitted that the dereservation of the forest mineral wealth was carried out as per the mineral policy of the Centre.

The High Court order “permits an investigation by the police, against the then chief minister of Karnataka (petitioner herein), into a policy decision of the year 2002 taken by the Cabinet of the State of Karnataka to dereserve forest lands pursuant to the National Mineral Policy adopted by the Centre in 1993, (and) ignores fundamental and vital precepts and canons of Constitutional law, and raises serious issues of national and public importance,” said Krishna’s petition filed through advocate Vijayalakshmi Menon.

The petition contended that the cabinet decision was a collective one taken by 34 ministers. Hence, an individual cannot be held responsible for the decision.

Krishna said the “fundamental principles” such as “collective responsibility of the cabinet” and “no motive or malice can be attributed to a collective body, such as a legislature” would apply in his case as well. Further, the policy decision of the government could not be challenged in the court of law. The High Court had ordered that the probe should continue into offences relating to dereservation of the forest area in mineral-rich fragile zones.

A Lokayukta Special Court had initiated proceedings against the minister on December 8 last on a private complaint filed by social activist T J Abraham.

“The present case is itself a classic example, where the complainant is an active member of a rival political party (Bahujan Samaj Party). If the legal principles adopted by the High Court are permitted to stand, the consequences would be far reaching, and the very functioning of the central and state governments in the country would be in jeopardy, as even policy decisions taken by collective bodies would be made the subject matter of reckless and motivated allegations,” Krishna petition said.

The minister had earlier challenged the Lokayukta court order in the High Court which on December 15 last stayed the FIR against him.

Abraham had filed a private complaint against Krishna, H D Kumaraswamy and another former chief minister N Dharam Singh, seeking action against them for allegedly facilitating illegal mining.