Write a Short note on Karnataka Lokayukta
Introduction: Brief history of Karnataka Lokayuka
Body: Appointment, Powers of Lokayukta
Conclusion: Analysis- criticism and achievements.
Karnataka Lokayukta is the anticorruption ombudsman institution of Karnataka. It was established in 1984 to investigate and report on corruption in the Government of Karnataka and to redress public grievances related to state government employees.
This Lokayukta that was once considered the most powerful such institution in the country.
- In 1966, a report by the Administrative Reforms Commission recommended the setting up of Lokpal at the federal level and Lokayukta in the states, for the redressal of citizen's grievances
- The Lokayukta Ordinance Act 1979, was exercised by D. Devaraj Urs, then Chief Minister of Karnataka, and the first Lokayukta to be appointed was then retired Chief Justice of Rajasthan High court, Justice C. Honniah. The same institution was abolished when R. Gundu Rao became the chief minister of Karnataka, after the demise of D. Devaraj Urs.
- The institution was again re introduced after Ramakrishna Hegde, became then Chief Minister of Karnataka, and introduced the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta Bill in the assembly as their 1983 election promise.
- It came into force through the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984. Then, Mysore State Vigilance Commission which formed in 1965 to investigate corruption cases in the state was abolished. The pending cases before the commission was transferred to the newly formed Lokayukta.
- It had two jurisdictions: to investigate corruption and to probe government inaction
- However, it was stripped off its investigative powers before transferring them to the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2016.
- As per the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, a person appointed the Lokayukta, who either held the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court of India or that of the Chief Justice of a High Court of India.
- The Act was amended in 2015, according to which any person who has held the post of judge of the High court for a period of ten years can be appointed as Lokayukta and five years in case of Upa Lokayukta.
- The Lokayukta is appointed by the Governor of Karnataka on advice of Chief Minister of Karnataka in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, the Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council, the Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council and the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
- The Lokayukta has the power to investigate cases in relation to the Chief Minister, all other Ministers and Members of the State Legislature and all state government employees.
- The Lokayukta, through Bureau of Investigation, its police wing, had derived its investigating powers from the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
- Upon the formation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in 2016, these powers were taken away. The powers now remain to giving directions to the ACB to investigate a case that the former finds sufficient evidence for, under section 15(3) of the Lokayukta Act, 1984.
- It is mandatory to for the ACB to follow these directions, and Lokayukta holds powers to sue the former if it does not.
- Delay in appointment of Lokayuka
- Currently it does not have investigative powers. It depends on ACB which reports to the Chief Secretary of the State
- Allegation of corruption by Lokayuka itself in the past
- Following the amendment, the Lokayukta has been given the suo motu powers to investigate all public servants except the Chief Minister, Ministers, Legislators and those nominated by the government.
In 2011, Santosh Hegde submitted a report on illegal mining in the state which reported loss of Rs 160.85 billion to the state. This report exposed the biggest mining scam in India. This report led to the resignation of B. S. Yeddyurappa, then Chief Minister of Karnataka, from the post.