Need for looking into functioning of Lokayukta: Delhi CM

With some Congressmen unhappy over sweeping powers vested in the Lokayukta, who had recommended removal of a Delhi minister, CM Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday said there was a need to look into the functioning of the body.

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 21:58 PM IST

New Delhi: With some Congressmen unhappy
over sweeping powers vested in the Lokayukta, who had
recommended removal of a Delhi minister, Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit on Wednesday said there was a need to look into the
functioning of the body.

"We are looking into it, what is there and what is not
there. The way the Lokayukta has been working I feel there is
need to examine (Jis tarah se Lokayukta kar rahe hai usme mere
khayal se vichar karne ki aur abashyakta hai, dekhenge)," she
told reporters.
Dikshit was asked to comment on suggestions by a
section of Congressmen that there was a need to amend the
Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta Act of 1995.

Opposition BJP has been mounting pressure on Dikshit
to sack PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan following
recommendation by the Lokayukta for his removal for trying to
protect a leading resort in a tax evasion case.

Asked to comment on the Lokayukta order, Dikshit said
the recommendation has been sent to President Pratibha Patil
and everybody should wait for her decision.

"I have repeatedly said that the matter is with the
President. The Lokyukta has not sent the recommendation to us.
He has sent it directly to the President. Now when the
President is to take a decision on it, what comment can I
offer.

"The Lokayukta has given recommendation, we have not
stopped him. We will do what the President says," she said.

Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin had last month
recommended sacking Chauhan from the Cabinet for trying to
protect a leading resort in a tax evasion case, holding him
guilty of "misconduct" of "grave nature".

In the order, the Lokayukta recommended to the
President to "withdraw her pleasure" for the minister to
continue in office as he "misused" his official position.

Earlier speaking in the Assembly, Congress MLA
Narendra Nath suggested amending the Lokayukta and Upa
Lokayukta Act 1995 saying Section 2 of the Act "does not
define any allegations" and Lokayukta can summon law makers
based on any allegations.

"There is a need to amend the Act," he said in the
House.
Later Nath said he did not talked about cutting down
on Lokayukta`s powers but only suggested amendment in the Act
so that "there are specific categories of allegations under
which an MLA or a minister can be summoned."

"If there are shortcomings in the Act, that should be
rectified. The Section 2 does not define any allegations. I am
saying those should be defined so that MLAs can come to know
on what types of allegations they can be summoned or issued
notices by the Lokayukta. Today any type of complaint is
taken up and the MLA summoned," said Nath.

The issue figured in yesterday`s Congress legislature
party meeting also where several MLAs expressed their
displeasure over the Lokayukta order.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta termed
Dikshit`s comments as "highly objectionable", saying the
Congress never believed in "impartiality of Constitutional
institution".

"The chief minister`s comment is highly objectionable.
It is clear from her statement that she is not tolerating the
impartiality and independence of the Lokayukta," he said.

BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told
reporters that the Delhi government was "creating a
constitutional crisis by failing to obey the orders of the
Lokayukta to remove Chauhan.

"On February 16, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had
made a firm promise to the people of the country that the
corrupt persons will not be spared. On February 24, he again
stated in Lok Sabha that the Government is committed to punish
every corrupt officer and politician. Despite this, Chauhan
continues on his post."

Earlier in the day, BJP MLAs were marshalled out of
the Delhi Assembly after they disrupted the proceedings and
trooped into the Well of the House repeatedly demanding
sacking of PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan following
Lokayukta`s recommendation to remove him.

PTI