Lokayukta A Presentation ByVincy Davis, Journo (III) Roll No.128
Some clarifications… Lokpal – literally meaning ‘protector of people’. Ombudsman at the Union level Lokayukta – Ombudsman at the State level Upa-lokayukta – Deputy Lokayukta Lokayukta vs. Vigilance officer – Former looks into citizen grievances against public officials from outside ‘the system’ and the latter does the same from within ‘the system’
Existing grievance redressal machinery Judicial remedy Administrative tribunals like Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Labour Tribunal Parliamentary procedure Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. Consumer Fora Extra bureaucratic channels like panchayats
Need for Lokayukta Interim Report of the Administrative Reforms, 1962 gave the following reasons: “A Democratic government is a “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, it has an obligation to satisfy the citizen about its functioning and to offer them adequate means for the ventilation and redress of their grievances. The redressal of citizen’s grievances is basic to the functioning of democratic governments, and will strengthen the hands of the government in administering the laws of the land without fear and favour, affection or ill will and enable it to go up in public faith and confidence without which progress would not be possible. The existing institutions of judicial review and Parliamentary control are inadequate in view of the ever expanding range of governmental functions most of which are discretionary. There prevails a public feeling against prevalence of corruption, widespread inefficiency and administration’s unresponsiveness to popular needs.”
Evolution Early ’60s, rampant corruption in the govt. sets the mood for establishing an Ombudsman to look into citizen grievances Administrative Reforms Commission, 1966 recommendations Office of Lokayukta was set up on the pattern of the Ombudsman in the Scandinavian countries Lokpal Act remains stalled but several states passed Lokayukta Acts over the years : Maharashtra (1972), Bihar (1974), Uttar Pradesh (1977), Madhya Pradesh (1981), Andhra Pradesh (1983), Himachal Pradesh (1983), Karnataka (1984), Assam (1986), Gujarat (1988), Delhi (1995), Punjab (1996), Kerala (1998), Chhattisgarh (2002), Uttaranchal (2002) and West Bengal (2003) and Haryana (2004) Lokayukta is not uniform across all states
Terms and conditions of office Term : 3-5 years Generally a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge is appointed in consultation with the state governor, ruling and opposition leaders of the state legislative assembly A Lokayukta does not hold a separate office for profit and is not connected with any political party. Also debarred from being a member of Parliament or State Legislature. Lokayukta’s office has been provided equivalence with the status of a Judge of the High Court. Governors are authorised to remove the Lokayuktas but only for misbehaviour or incapacity. Procedures for removal are not uniform.
Jurisdiction No uniformity in terms of covering authorities Permission required to investigate cases concerning officials above a certain rank Included under its ambit – matters of pension, gratuity, PF, any claims related to retirement, removal or termination of service
Excluded from jurisdiction :o Matters concerning State security; actions taken in respect of appointments, pay and other matters of employmento Complaints which have or had any remedy before any Tribunal or Court of Lawo Any action in which a public inquiry as ordered under Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1950o Complaint made beyond the period of limitation (generally 3-5 years) stipulated by the Actso Any matter concerning any person if he has any bias in respect of such matter or person
Lokayukta(s) in action… Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka – Have separate investigating agencies headed by the DGP (states without these have to hire private investigators to carry investigations) Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat – Search warrant can be issued in cases where the summoned person would not produce the article relevant to any inquiry Delhi – Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs are under its ambit but civil servants/bureaucrats, judiciary, police and the Delhi Development Authority are excluded Kerala – Lokayukta has local panchayats under its ambit of investigation
Organisation Hon’ble Lokayukta Personal Secretary PROAdministrative Wing Police Wing Technical Wing Registrar Addl. Director General Chief Engineer Deputy Registrar Inspector General Superintending Engg. Asst. Registrar
Lokayukta – A mere PR tool? Garner says that he is “an Officer of Parliament, having as his primary function the duty of acting as an agent for Parliament, for the purpose of safeguarding citizens against (Garner,1981:92) Can conduct raids but cannot legally punish anyone! Recommendations are not binding on the state government. No strict time limit for conducting investigations and enforcing punishment. Has to seek permission to conduct investigation involving officers above a certain rank Lokpal Bill stalled several times since its introduction in 1968 in Parliament. Lack of political will?
The major advantage of a Lokayukta isthat he or she examines complaints fromoutside the offending state institution,thus avoiding the conflicts of interestinherent in self-policing.However, this system lies heavily on theselection of an appropriate individual for theoffice, and on the cooperation of at least someeffective official from within the apparatus of thestate.
Major success stories Former Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde has brought several officers and ministers including forcing the then CM, B S Yediyurrappa to resign over his involvement in illegal mining. Report on illegal mining indicted Karnataka ministers as well including Reddy brothers. A role model for other Lokayuktas, he has offered to re-draft the Bihar Lokayukta Act
Delhi Lokayukta and chairman of All India Lokayukta committee, Justice Manmohan Sarin has been championing the cause of strengthening the office of Lokayukta Recently indicted CM Sheila Dikshit for "misrepresenting" facts while announcing that 60,000 low-cost flats were ready under the Rajiv Rattan Awas scheme, in the run-up to the 2008 Assembly polls.
Controversies Gujarat : Gov. Kamla Beniwal appoints Lokayukta using discretionary powers. Modi and Co. react vehemently
Karnataka : Case of Conflict of Interest for present Lokayukta, Justice Shivaraj V. Patil
Latest developments… Calls for adopting the uniform "Model Lokayukta Bill" as formulated by the Implementation Committee constituted by the All India Lokayukta Conference, 2004 The Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by India Against Corruption Campaign supporters says Lokayuktas should be appointed by the Centre
References Lokayukta (Ombudsman in India) : A Socio-Legal Study, Shukla K.S, Singh S.S 1988 http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article607947.ece http://lokayukta.delhigovt.nic.in/hope-common-man.asp http://www.nios.ac.in/srsec317newE/317EL36.pdf http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7078/is_2_13/ai_n42059 http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/times-of-india-the/mi_