Lokayukta may get suo motu power to investigate Government officers

Last Updated : 09 July 2010, 13:35 IST
Last Updated : 09 July 2010, 13:35 IST

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Replying to this week's lengthy debate in the Legislative Assembly on the resignation (and subsequent withdrawal) of Lokayukta N Santhosh Hegde, he spelt out the government's intention to amend the Karnataka Lokayukta Act for "strengthening" the statutory institution.

Asked for his reaction, Leader of Opposition Siddarmaiah said, "We want the chief minister, ministers and legislators to be included (in the suo motu power ambit)".
He said when the government tables the amendment to the Act on the floor of the House, the Opposition would explain its stand. But his initial reaction to the government's proposal to amend the Act was "There is nothing new in it".

Yeddyurappa's proposal on Lokayukta comes within days of the resignation of Hegde, who complained of non-cooperation from the government in the fight against corruption and failure to give suo motu powers (without any complaints) to investigate.

Hegde's resignation led to a public outcry and calls that he withdraw his resignation as the pressure mounted on the government to act. Hegde eventually relented after veteran BJP leader L K Advani requested him to withdraw his papers.

Yeddyurapa noted in the Assembly today that Upa-Lokayukta has powers to carry out suo motu investigation in respect of public servants coming under his jurisdiction whereas the Lokayukta does not have them in his.

Chief Minister, ministers, members of legislature and all public servants getting a monthly pay of Rs 20,000 and more and whose minimum stage of the pay scale is more than Rs 20,000 come under the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.

"It is proposed to give suo-motu powers to Lokayukta to investigate all public servants except chief minister, ministers, members of legislature and public servants nominated by the government," Yeddyurappa said.

The government also proposed to amend the Act to make it mandatory for Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta to record in writing the grievance or the allegation on which they want to start suo motu investigation before undertaking such a probe.

As per the proposed amendment, the Lokayukta and the Upa-Lokayukta are required to provide the copy of the complaint to the public servant and the competent authority concerned before starting investigation.While undertaking the suo motu investigation (without any complaints), the public servant or the competent authority has to be provided with the remarks recorded in writing by Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta for such suo motu investigation and give an opportunity for public servant to give his reply on such remarks. To this effect, the Act would be amended, Yeddyurappa said.

If Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta found prima facie evidence against government servants for having committed serious irregularities, column 13 of the Act provides for Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta to make a declaration against such government servants to vacate that office.

The competent authority has powers to accept or reject such declaration. It is proposed to amend the Act to make provision for providing an opportunity to the public servants to give their explanation before accepting or rejecting the declaration of Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta.

Published 09 July 2010, 10:29 IST

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