BJP govt begins exercise to bail out Yeddy

Last Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 22:30

Bangalore: In a move seen as an attempt to
bail out former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and other
ministers indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining,
the BJP government on Thursday decided to seek "clarifications" from
Lokayukta on its recommendations over removal of ministers.

The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister D V Sadananda
Gowda, which debated the July 27 Lokayukta report, was of the
opinion that the Lokayukta has not followed the principle of
natural justice while recommending action against the then
chief minister and removal of three other ministers.
"The order directing the removal of MLA or the minister
is like civil death," Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S
Suresh Kumar told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Clarifications were being sought on the basis of advice
tendered by the state`s advocate general and some legal
experts, he said.

Deliberating on the report two and half months after it
was submitted by then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, the cabinet
decided to raise the issue whether non-officials, i.e. MLAs
and MLCs could be bracketed under category of "public servant"
under section 13 of Lokayukta Act, as the matter was probed by
it on a reference by government under Section 7 (2)A of the
act.

"It was essentially necessary for Lokayukta to follow the
principles of natural justice. Persons named in the report
should have been given an opportunity to explain. It is
understood that no order can be passed in violation of
principles of natural justice," he said.
Differing with Hegde`s report which sought removal of
then ministers G Janardhana Reddy, his brother G Karunakara
Reddy and their business associate B Sreeramulu, the cabinet
asked can such power be exercised without complying with the
principles of natural justice?

Kumar said, "In the present case, the entire enquiry has
been conducted without affording the persons who have been
named in the report any opportunity to be heard," a contention
echoed by Yeddyurappa when he was forced to step down from the
chief ministership by his party high command.

The government now wants Lokayukta to go into the issue
whether it conducted the enquiry on a complaint or under a
reference made by the government, he said.

"We are not questioning the Lokayukta report. Should we
not ask for natural justice? Any action taken on the report
will be a precedent in future," he said.

"Any action or recommendation by Lokayukta should be in
consonance with Article 164 (relating to appointment of chief
minister and other ministers by governor) and 191
(disqualification of membership) of the Constitution."

In respect of all the 700-odd officials named in the
report, the state will be affording them an opportunity to be
heard before initiating action against them, he said, adding,
"this is very very vital".
Kumar said the official committee set up under
chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary will soon submit
submit a report on action to be initiated against the
officials. "The committee is in the final stages of giving its
report."

The government decision to seek `clarifications` from the
Lokayukta comes at a time when the anti-corruption watchdog
does not have Lokayukta in the wake of Justice Shivaraj Patil,
who succeeded Hegde, resigning from the post on September 19
following a controversy over allotment of housing sites for
him and his wife allegedly violating rules.

Yeddyurappa has already challenged the action recommended
by Lokayukta against him in high court and prayed for deletion
of Chapter 22 of the report which indicted him.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 22:30

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