'Government trying to defang Lokayukta'

Former Lokayukta Justice Santhosh Hegde has alleged that the State government is trying to make the Lokayukta institution unproductive.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Saturday, the former chief justice added that the institution has lost its respect following the poor performance by Justice Y Bhaskar Rao.

“The State government, which introduced the new ordinance Lokayukta Act 2014, has curbed the power of the institution to act against government and bureaucratic fraud. It was introduced in 1983 and the first Lokayukta was introduced in 1986. No one had pointed at the Lokayukta institution for deficiencies. There were two institutions to look into the responsibilities adorned by Lokayukta institution – the Karnataka Vigilance Commission and the Anti Corruption Bureau,” he explained.

He alleged that the new ordinance is favouring politicians and bureaucrats. It does not help the common man. Politicians were suffering humiliation as the power which was curbed with the new ordinance was empowering the Lokayukta to point at politicians and bureaucrats for the irregularities. Hence, the government decided to withdraw the power, he added.

He lamented that Justice Bhaskar Rao has maligned the Lokayukta institution. “The Lokayukta Act and Lokayukta institution, however, should not be held responsible for the deteriorating image of the institution. The people who appointed Justice Rao are responsible,” he claimed, adding, “The former chief minister should answer for the appointment, as he went ahead even after the stay order by the five-member team of the High Court against the appointment of Justice Rao. The people in the committee that decided to appoint him are also accountable.”

Upa Lokayukta

He said that he was ignorant about the allegations against Upa Lokayukta Subhash Adi. The allegations for his impeachment had taken place over a year back, he said and questioned why the government was silent then and is reacting now. “It is as simple as that - the government wants to make the intuition ineffective and there would be no one to question the government and bureaucratic setup. The resignation of Justice Rao has helped him to go free without the fear of impeachment,” he lamented.

Retorting over the ongoing tolerance and intolerance debate, the former Lokayukta added that intolerance prevailed since time immemorial in one or the other form. However it is being politicised recently for unwanted reasons. He questioned why the people who are returning the awards now did not react during the time of Emergency.

He said, “I do agree for the greatest of the great punishment for those who indulge in intolerant activities. It should be seen that the intolerance does not recur. The act of intolerance should be strongly condemned. Make the society react against it and educate people against it,” he added.

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