Delhi govt rejects giving more teeth to Lokayukta
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:05
  
New Delhi: The Delhi Lokayukta's demands for more teeth to deal with graft cases "effectively" and bringing civil servants under its jurisdiction have been stonewalled, with the city government rejecting them straightway.

Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin, who had in the recent past passed a number of adverse orders against the Delhi government, demanded powers of search and seizure and statutory powers for initiating contempt proceedings, but they too were turned down.

Strongly arguing for strengthening the ombudsman, Sarin had sought powers of search and seizure to probe graft cases and pointed such powers have been vested in Lokayuktas of certain other states like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

"Because of such powers, Lokayuktas in such states are more effective in their functioning," he said in a report to the government.

However, rejecting the demand, the government said that as per provisions of the Delhi Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta Act, the ombudsman take the services of officers from government investigating agency or any other agency to conduct a probe.

The Lokayukta currently hires private investigators or other agencies to carry out probe as it does not have an investigating wing.

Sarin also sought bringing civil servants under the ambit of the Lokayukta saying corrupt or wrongful act of elected representatives normally involves "complicity" of the bureaucrats.

"In case of misuse of power or corruption, the respective role of the public functionaries vis-a-vis bureaucrats is so intermingled and enmeshed that it would be difficult to decide whether the role of one functionary ends and that of the other begins," Sarin said.

The government outrightly rejected the demand, saying the civil servants are already under the jurisdiction of Central Vigilance Commission and CBI and that they can be prosecuted under various laws, including the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Lokayukta also sought a seat for himself, just after the lieutenant governor and before the chief minister in 'order of precedence' during state functions but government turn it down citing norms of the Home Ministry.

The Lokayukta also said that it is required to be equipped with power to initiate contempt proceedings but the government countered saying as per established conventions, penal action against any functionary can be taken by the appointing authority and not by inquiry officers.

The government also rejected the recommendations to confer power on the Lokayukta to exempt any "deserving complainant" from paying the prescribed fee. Currently, a court fee of Rs 500 has to be paid to file a complaint with the Lokayukta.

The demands and recommendations of the Lokayukta were made in the annual report of the ombudsman for the year 2010-11.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:05


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