Complaints pile up for action as Lokayukta extends leave

Complaints pile up for action as Lokayukta extends leave

Complaints pile up for action as Lokayukta extends leave

Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao, who had said he could not orphan the institution by stepping down, is in fact making thousands of complaints pending for action. Since April 15 to August 20, 2015 there has been an increase in number of complaints filed to the Lokayukta. Justice Rao is on leave since July 27, 2015.

 The Lokayukta sources say after the stage of scrutiny, these complaints will have to wait for the Lokayukta's nod for further course of action.

Lokayukta's son Yerabati Ashwin and Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riyaz have been arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing extortion and corruption charges within Lokayukta.

Plaints go up
The information obtained under the Right to Information Act reveals that ever since the corruption in the Lokayukta was exposed, the number of complaints has gone up. From April to August a total of 681 complaints have been filed in the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta as against 513 complaints between January 1, 2015 and April 1, 2015. So what happens to these complaints in the continuing absence of the Lokayukta?

After his son Y Ashwin was arrested by the SIT, Justice Rao took leave from July 27 to August 14. He was expected to return on July 17. However, he extended the leave till August 31. Later, he again extended his leave till September 30. Though on leave, Justice Rao has not delegated the powers to the Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi. Under this circumstance, a complaint that passes the initial scrutiny stage, will have to wait for the Lokayukta's nod for further action.

 Senior officials at the Lokayukta institution said that Justice Rao is only in touch with the in-charge registrar only on administrative issues. “The Lokayukta Act also allows Lokayukta to delegate his powers to any of the Upalokayuktas till he resumes office. However, Justice Rao has not done this and the number of complaints in the waiting keeps piling up,” an official said.

On the other hand, complaints to Upalokayuktas are also on the rise even after the corruption case. Between April 15, 2015 and August 20, 2015, a total of 647 complaints have been filed before Upalokayukta-1, while as many as 1,042 complaints have been filed before Upalokayukta-2 Justice Subhash B Adi.

Since Justice S B Majage (who was Upalokayukta-1) demitted the office on July 17, Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi is handling all these cases. The number of complaints between January 1, 2015 and April 1, 2015, was 563 to Upalokayukta-1 and 640 to Upalokayukta-2.

Most of these complaints pertain to maladministration and few need immediate attention. Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said that the delay in taking action on such complaints will defeat the very purpose of approaching the institution. “In my experience as Lokayukta, such complaints need to be scrutinised based on the importance and seriousness. The grievance reddressal is such an important duty of a Lokayukta that sometimes it saves a life. I have noticed, people who get old age, handicapped and widow pension are forced to shell out bribe just to get their pension. And, here comes a man as Lokayukta who goes on leave for two months. See what has he done. Because he wants to stick to the chair and don’t want to delegate powers, people are denied grievance reddressal. Somebody should empower the Upalokayukta so that the institution does not turn into a cold storage of complaints,” Justice Hegde said.

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