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Guide: How Lokayukta works

The Lokayukta is an appointed person who has held the office of a judge of the Supreme Court or that of a chief justice of a high court, or a person who has held the office of a judge of a high court for not less than 10 years.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:15 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:15 IST

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A Bescom official was recently trapped by the Lokayukta police, when he demanded a bribe to provide an electricity connection to a building. 

Chandan Kumar S filed a complaint against Yatish Palegar, an assistant engineer with Bescom. Yatish demanded Rs 5 lakh as a bribe and settled for Rs 3.8 lakh. The SP Bengaluru City-1 of the Lokayukta Police conducted the operation and trapped the official.

Such traps and raids have piqued the interest of citizens. The Lokayukta is an appointed person who has held the office of a judge of the Supreme Court or that of a chief justice of a high court, or a person who has held the office of a judge of a high court for not less than 10 years.

The parliamentary ombudsman has come to the rescue of many citizens faced with bribery and extortion. 

Procedure to complain

The Lokayukta is governed by two acts — the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 (under which the body was established), and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 

“The former covers maladministration complaints made by the general public, dereliction of duty, nepotism and corruption complaints against public and government servants. Under this act, any aggrieved person can file a complaint before the Lokayukta online or physically by filling Form no 1 and 2, as defined in the Act,” explains Srinath K, secretary of the Lokayukta. The first form includes details of the petitioner, respondent and their designation. Form 2 is an affidavit of the complainant, which is used to register the case. 

Any complaint against a person earning a monthly salary of Rs 20,000 or above will come to the Lokayukta, and complaints against persons who earn lesser than Rs 20,000 will go to the Upalokayukta (an appointed person who has held the office of a judge of a high court for not less than five years). 

Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Lokayukta’s police wing investigates the matter. “They can collect source reports like in disproportionate assets cases. Criminal cases are registered against the public or government servant and necessary sanctions are obtained under Section 17 of the Act. An FIR can be registered and arrest made, after which an investigation can lead to a chargesheet being submitted in the court,” he explains. 

Disproportionate assets cases and trap cases (where the accused person is caught red-handed) come under this Act. “When such cases are filed, evidence is required and thus a complaint has to be filed in person,” he adds. Complaints against bodies like Bescom, BBMP, BDA, and even RTO, and against public-private companies can be registered with the Lokayukta. 

Suo moto cases are also registered on public causes by the Lokayukta and Upalokayukta. For example: in an electrocution case in 2023, where a mother and child succumbed to burns, a case was registered against
the concerned authorities. 

Justice B S Patil, Lokayukta of Karnataka, points out that the body has been actively working towards being accessible to the public. “Citizens must be agile and approach us to ensure and protect their own rights. After I stepped into office, we have been actively creating awareness through campaigns and by handing out pamphlets,” he adds. 

Cases with the Lokayukta

In August 2022, the Karnataka high court abolished the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and transferred all its
cases to Lokayukta. In the State, 2,159 cases were transferred from the ACB to the Lokayukta. In this, 1,171 cases are still under investigation.

New cases registered in the State with the Lokayukta between September 2022 and March 2024 are 552 (including 118 raids, 382 traps, and 52 other cases like criminal misappropriation of funds by a government employee). Of the total new cases, 94 cases are from Bengaluru.

Of the 239 cases disposed of in the State, between June 2022 and March 2024, 120 were acquittals and 67 convictions. In Bengaluru, 53 cases were disposed of, in the same period.

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Published 24 April 2024, 04:15 IST

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