The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Karnataka Legislative Assembly to not take precipitative action with regard to the breach of privilege motion initiated against the registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta.
Justice A S Bopanna issued the direction while hearing a petition filed by the Lokayukta and the registrar who have moved the court, challenging the proposal to move a privilege motion against the top Lokayukta official.
The court also issued notices to the Legislative Assembly Speaker, chairman of the Legislature Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, principal secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms and secretary (in-charge) of Karnataka Lelgislative Assembly.
The proposal to move the motion was placed by the Legislature Committee on Papers Laid on the Table before the Speaker, for not submitting the audit report of the Lokayukta institution. The committee headed by the JD(S) MLA Sa Ra Mahesh had asked the Lokayukta institution to submit the annual performance report, including the audit report.
According to the petitioners, under Section 12 (6) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, the Lokayukta shall present an annual performance report to the governor and not to the House Committee. The governor can then send a copy with an explanatory memorandum to be laid before each House of the state legislature.
However, the committee sent a notice again, asking the registrar to appear before it in person. When the registrar did not make a personal appearance, the committee sent a proposal to the Speaker, seeking to move a privilege motion against the registrar.
This led to the Lokayukta filing a petition in the high court, challenging the proposal and the subsequent communication from the Speaker's office to the privileges committee.