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K’taka CM, MLAs could be out of Lokayukta ambit

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today proposed to give suo motu powers to the Lokayukta to investigate all public servants except the chief minister, ministers, legislators and public servants.



Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S
Yeddyurappa today proposed to give suo motu powers to the
Lokayukta to investigate all public servants except the chief
minister, ministers, legislators and public servants nominated
by the government.

Yeddyurappa`s proposal on Lokayukta comes within days
of the resignation of Hegde, who complained of non-cooperation
from the government in the fight against corruption and
failure to give suo motu powers (without any complaints) to
investigate.
Hegde said he was “disappointed” with the CM’s announcement.

Replying to this week`s lengthy debate in the
Legislative Assembly on the resignation (and subsequent
withdrawal) of Lokayukta N Santhosh Hegde, he spelt out the
government`s intention to amend the Karnataka Lokayukta Act
for "strengthening" the statutory institution.

Asked for his reaction, Leader of Opposition
Siddarmaiah said, "We want the Chief Minister, ministers and
legislators to be included (in the suo motu power ambit)".

He said when the government tables the amendment to
the Act on the floor of the House, the Opposition would
explain its stand. But his initial reaction to the
government`s proposal to amend the Act was "There is nothing
new in it".

Hegde`s resignation led to a public outcry and calls
that he withdraw his resignation as the pressure mounted on
the government to act. Hegde eventually relented after veteran
BJP leader L K Advani requested him to withdraw his papers.

Yeddyurapa noted in the Assembly today that
Upa-Lokayukta has powers to carry out suo motu investigation
in respect of public servants coming under his jurisdiction
whereas the Lokayukta does not have them in his.

Chief Minister, ministers, members of legislature and
all public servants getting a monthly pay of Rs 20,000 and
more and whose minimum stage of the pay scale is more than Rs
20,000 come under the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.

"It is proposed to give suo-motu powers to Lokayukta
to investigate all public servants except Chief Minister,
ministers, members of legislature and public servants
nominated by the government," Yeddyurappa said.

The government also proposed to amend the Act to make
it mandatory for Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta to record in
writing the grievance or the allegation on which they want to
start suo motu investigation before undertaking such a probe.

As per the proposed amendment, the Lokayukta and the
Upa-Lokayukta are required to provide the copy of the
complaint to the public servant and the competent authority
concerned before starting investigation.

While undertaking the suo motu investigation (without
any complaints), the public servant or the competent authority
has to be provided with the remarks recorded in writing by
Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta for such suo motu investigation and
give an opportunity for public servant to give his reply on
such remarks. To this effect, the Act would be amended,
Yeddyurappa said.

If Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta found prima facie
evidence against government servants for having committed
serious irregularities, column 13 of the Act provides for
Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta to make a declaration against such
government servants to vacate that office.

The competent authority has powers to accept or reject
such declaration. It is proposed to amend the Act to make
provision for providing an opportunity to the public servants
to give their explanation before accepting or rejecting the
declaration of Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta.

-PTI

From Zee News

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