Lokayuktas seek more power to fight corruption

Want to bring NGOs under their ambit

Make Lokayukta the nodal agency to receive all complaints of corruption and maladministration, grant powers to take suo moto cognizance, and bring NGOs and getting government aid under its ambit.

These are some of the 13 resolutions passed at the recently held All India Lokayuktas Conference in Delhi.

The recommendations have been sent to Union law minister Ashwini Kumar, and they could enhance the effectiveness of the Lokayuktas if implemented by the government, said Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin.

Justice Sarin said a resolution has been passed to bring officials from the civil service, and those holding civil posts or employed with government services under the supervision of Lokayuktas.

IAS officers, police and DDA officials are excluded from the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction in Delhi.

Other recommendations include providing supervisory jurisdiction to Lokayuktas over anti-corruption agencies of the state, and power to search and seize during inquiry and investigation.

“Absence of power to search and seize in some states is a severe handicap,” said Justice Sarin. “This power can be exercised by a magistrate. There is no reason why former judges of the High Court, acting as Lokayuktas, should be denied of it.”

Need autonomy

He said for independent and effective functioning of Lokayuktas, financial and administrative autonomy is a “sine qua non”. “Lokayuktas cannot be made to seek day-to-day approvals from the very authorities over whom they have investigative jurisdiction,” said Justice Sarin.

Referring to two different probes on a minister and his secretary, Justice Sarin said the role of the minister is inextricably entwined with that of his secretary. “Two different inquiries on the same transaction by different agencies can result in wastage of time and possibly a conflicting finding,” said the Lokayukta.

Justice Sarin appealed to the media to build credibility for the institution. “The media can build a strong public opinion to discourage and deter the indolent, dishonest and corrupt by objective, truthful and balanced reporting,” he said, seeking the protocol of ‘state guest’ in states where it is not granted.

Most of these demands had been rejected by the city government in the past.

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