Delhi govt rejects giving more teeth to Lokayukta

The Delhi Lokayukta`s demands for more teeth to deal with graft cases "effectively" have been stonewalled.

Updated: Jan 29, 2012, 10:05 AM IST

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

"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

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