Rage over Karnataka govt move to dilute Lokayukta

Former bureaucrats, judges call for a massive public campaign to strengthen Lokayukta for good governance.

Bengaluru: Venting their anger and frustration over the state government’s efforts to dilute the anti-corruption institution Lokayukta and replace it with Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), former bureaucrats and judges have called for a massive public campaign to strengthen Lokayukta for good governance.

Participating at a debate on ‘ACB or Lokayuta’ organised by the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Wednesday, Justice M.F. Saldanha dubbed the government’s move as ‘dishonest’ and said, “I lost faith reposed with the judiciary. I am sorry to say this. I belong to judiciary. The higher judiciary has suo motu powers, on very serious issues that touch public lives. Is it not the duty of the judges to take up suo motu complaint when something scandalous like this happens. Why should it be Prithvi Reddy who comes with a petition?” he asked.

Empahsising on the need for strong public campaign against the government’s move he also said the Lokayukta Act should be amended to give an opportunity for an honest and able social activist to hold the post of Lokayukta after checking the antecedents of an individual.

Former IAS officer T.R. Raghunandan said the government has taken advantage of underperforming Lokayukta and attempting to destabilise it. The state government has planned to set up two parallel institutions to fight corruption and to create unhealthy competition among themselves. This leads to further weakening of the system. The Supreme Court’s directive has been misinterpreted to form ACB, he said.

Fomer Lokayukta Justice Santhosh Hedge feels that ACB is being formed to save the skin of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. It will not have liberty to prosecute and punish corrupt officials. Many politicians had grudges against the Lokayukta and they now want to finish it off.

The statistics between an effective Lokayukta and ACB in 12 different states proves which is better. The Lokayukta has performed better and independently, he added.

Social activist S.R. Hiremath said there is a planned and organised conspiracy to weaken Lokayukta. It is far more superior body compared to ACB. The govenrment must make tangible efforts to provide good governance. The move to form ACB is evident that they are against Lokayukta, he said.

There have been allegations against Chief Minister in the past and present. Does that mean that chief minister’s post should be scrapped? Underperforming Lokayukta is just an exception and why should Lokayukta be demolished, he questioned.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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