Amend Lokayuktha Rules : Need of the hour Bring back credibility of Loakyuktha

It is well known that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Similarly freedom without responsibility and accountability also corrupts even the high and mighty. Case in point is that of a Lokayuktha, a retired chief justice of high court, who disregarded the norms of democracy and remained incognito, when mattered the most, by taking continuous leave of absence since the rules were framed three decades ago keeping in mind that such high level statutory authorities will not misuse the provisions.

Many may not be even aware that as per rule 6 (6) of rules to Karnataka Lokayuktha, (framed in exercise of powers of Section 23 of Karnataka Lokayuktha Act 1984 (Karnataka Act 4 0f 1985)) and notified vide DPAR 3 KLU 84 dated 8 July 1985, the Lokayuktha and Upa Lokayuktha can sanction leave unto themselves. No questions asked. No answers given. No need to even consult the Governor who is the appointing authority. So when something bizarre like corruption within Lokayuktha happened recently, pointing fingers at the door of Lokayuktha himself, he could simply make himself unavailable to public by sanctioning leave unto himself.

Such rules contravene all democratic norms and are solely responsible for a situation, where the appointed Lokayuktha has absented himself from discharging his statutory duties and the state administrative machinery had to eat a humble pie. Such an act has not only has brought disrepute to the institution but also has shaken up the confidence of people of Karnataka in the institution

Once bitten twice shy. Probably such a rule was framed considering that the eminent jurists who occupy the position of Lokayuktha will be of highest integrity. But with the changing times and as a lesson learnt from the recent episode it is an urgent need that this rule is amended to ensure that the Governor of the state sanctions the leave of Lokayuktha and Lokayuktha sanctions the leave of Upa Lokayuktha.

This will not only conform to the democratic norms as laid down in the constitution and also will bring accountability to the institution. Similar situations can be arrested in the future. Timely actions by the Govt of Karnataka to amend the rules of Lokayuktha 1985, will go a long way in building a positive public perception of the govt in general and the Lokayuktha institution in particular. The Karnataka Govt has been requested by this author on 7 Dec 2015 to amend the rules accordingly. Let us hope for the best to ensure public money is not spent on a Lokayuktha who is always on leave but for an Ombudsman who is always there for the people. For the time being thanks to Lord, Justice Bhaskar Rao has finally submitted his resignation to escape from the ignominy of being removed by the legislature.

Jai hind

I Love my India