Blow to anti-corruption movement: Karnataka begins process to remove its lokayukta

Legislators send petitions with required of signatures to initiate the process of Bhaskar Rao on corruption charges

GN Bureau | November 18, 2015



The institution of lokayukta in Karnataka has been model for many states since inception. Now, it seems to fallen in its duty, thus allowing the legislature to step in to initiate the process of removal of current lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao on charges of corruption.

In the first step towards removal of Bhaskar Rao, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday submitted separate petitions to legislative assembly speaker Kagodu Thimmappa to initiate the process of conducting an inquiry into the allegations of corruption. The Opposition submitted a similar petition to council chairman DH Shankaramurthy as well.

Lokayukta Rao has not budged despite calls for his resignation and is on a long leave since July after his son was arrested by the special investigation team.

Forty-six BJP MLAs signed the petition submitted by Opposition Leader Jagadish Shettar and 40 JD(S) MLAs signed the petition.

After receiving the petition, the speaker said he would write to the chief justice of Karnataka asking him to constitute a committee of retired judges to probe the case.

 The State amended the lokayukta act during the previous session of the State legislature in July and simplified the procedure for removal of the anti-graft ombudsman. For the lokayukta’s removal, one-third members of either House or both Houses of the legislature must sign a notice for a motion for the removal on the ground of ‘proved misbehaviour or incapacity’.

Once the speaker or chairman (or both) refer the petition to the chief justice, the lokayukta would be precluded from discharging duties during the pendency of the motion. The government can appoint an advocate to conduct the case.

If the investigation report finds truth in the allegations, the report would be taken up for consideration by the house or houses as the case concerned in which the motion is pending. Once the house or houses adopt the report, it would be sent to the governor for assent. And once the governor gives his assent, the lokayukta would be removed from office.

In its petition, the BJP, along with several charges against justice Rao and his son Ashwin, has sought removal justice Rao from office as per the Section 6(2) of the Karnataka Lokayukta (Amendment) Act, 2015 and Section 68 of the Judges (Inquiry) Rules.

The JD(S), in its notice, has stated that justice Rao had betrayed society by not tendering his resignation.

The party has argued that the lokayukta, instead of resigning had on leave despite protests against rampant corruption in the lokayukta institution. Many organisations have demanded his removal from office.

Karnataka lokayukta had become a model with action against officials and even legislators. Many states have been established on the Karnataka model. The previous lokayuktas were successful in curbing corruption, the party said. The party has submitted media reports on the issue as annexure to its petition.

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