Bangalore: The stand-off between Karnataka government and Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde over the
legality of ordering a judicial probe into land scams showed no sign of abating on Sunday with the Ombudsman questioning the former`s contention.
The government earlier this month ordered a judicial probe
into land scams after a spirited opposition attack on Chief
Minister BS Yeddyurappa regarding the alleged illegal
allotments and denotification of land.
Justice Hegde held the view that the probe cannot be held
as the Lokayukta is already probing some scams which come
under the judicial commission for enquiry and the government
has not taken his permission, which is required under certain
provisions of Lokayukta Act before issuing the notification.
The state`s Advocate General had yesterday expressed the
view that government is within its jurisdiction in ordering a
judicial inq uiry as the step was taken before JD-S leaders
lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta, levelling allegations
against the Chief Minister.
He conte nded that while the government took a decision on
November 18 to order a judicial inquiry, JD-S lodged complaint
with Lokayukta on the same day. But Lokayukta approved the
investigation only on November 23 and sent notices to the
Chief Minister on the next day. The government, by then, had
issued the orders constituting the judicial commission.
Speaking to PTI today, Justice Hegde said the government
notified the judicial probe only on November 23, and added
that its "personal discussions" and "expressing view to the
media" earlier (that it would order a judicial probe) does not
become a Government Order.
He said the complaint was registered on November 18, it
was numbered and allotted to a judicial officer. "From the
time it`s registered, the investigation starts," he said.
"It`s different steps in the process of investigation. The
investigation started on November 18," Justice Hegde said,
adding preliminary enquiry began on November 20 and he
approved the enquiry on November 23.
He said the government has not taken his prior approval
before ordering the judicial probe. "They have not consulted
me. Therefore, this (judicial probe) cannot be done."
Asked if he would grant permission to the government to
order a judicial probe if his nod was sought, he said if the
government deletes certain "references" (for investigation in
the probe) which are already being probed by the Lokayukta,
he is ready to do so.
"Follow the rule. Don`t demean the (Lokayukta)
institution... I am protecting my institution`s integrity. I
am not trying to drag something which is not mine," Justice