Bengaluru: Batting for a stronger Lokayukta institution, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice P. Vishwanatha Shetty, on Saturday said that he is hopeful that the state's new dispute resolution policy should not be a step towards further weakening the Lokayukta institution.
Speaking after the launch of Karnataka dispute resolution policy and coffee table book on Karnataka Advocate Generals and their contributions here, Shetty said, "I hope that bringing this new dispute resolution system will not completely abolish the Lokayukta in the state. The duty of Lokayukta is to prevent maladministration in the state."
He added that though this new ADR policy if implemented in its letter and spirit will reduce a lot of burden on Lokayukta, but the ADR itself cannot be a replacement to Lokayukta.
"The ADR's primary objective is to reduce maladministration to a large extent," he said.
Shetty's observation assumes significance as Lokayukta was once mainly responsible for bringing down elected governments through its report on illegal mining and in 2011, then Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his cabinet colleague Gali Janradhan Reddy were arrested in cases related to corruption and mining respectively.
But by the 2015, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao himself got embroiled in a corruption case and subsequently he and his son had to face a trial.
In 2015, Karnataka High Court had also held that the Lokayukta did not have the jurisdiction to supervise criminal investigation under the PC Act through its police wing on the basis of the top court's Rangaswamaiah judgement.
As a result of this, the state government has, therefore, decided to separate the two roles by forming the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the lines of the Central government, with this the Karnataka Lokayukta became a pale shadow of its former self.
"The entire political class wants the institution to be toothless and voiceless watchdog. They don't want it to be functional, as their misdeeds will come out," Justice Santosh Hegde, the former Lokayukta had reacted after the ACB was formed. It was Hegde's report on illegal mining that pinned corruption charges against Yeddyurappa and resulted in his resignation.
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