He brings matter to the attention of Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna “for action as deemed fit’’
Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin has dismissed for “want of jurisdiction’’ a complaint by former Secretary in Delhi Legislative Assembly Siddharth Rao against Speaker Yoganand Shastri about alleged “corruption, misuse of public funds and amenities”. He has brought the matter to the attention of Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna “for action as deemed fit’’.
In his order, Justice Sarin said the “complaint has taken a rather circuitous route’’. He said it started with Mr. Rao addressing a confidential communication, dated May 22, 2012, to the Prime Minister of India, “wherein he made allegations of corruption, misuse of public funds and amenities alleged to be over several crores of rupees by the respondent.’’
Justice Sarin said the allegations pertained to “forgery, and forgery for purpose of cheating by repairing sofas at private residence, by forging of bills raised on Bureau of Legislative Studies, purporting to be for purchase of sports trophies, which were otherwise obtained as complimentary.’’
The Lokayukta said “the original complaint addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office was referred to the DoPT from where it got referred to the Secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor for necessary action and thereafter it reached the Office of the Chief Secretary and then it was forwarded by the Additional Secretary (Vigilance) to the Lokayukta for necessary action at our end’’. Stating that “the first question to be considered is whether the Lokayukta has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint,’’ Justice Sarin said “under Section 2(m) (iii) of the Delhi Lokayukta & Upalokayukta Act, 1995, a ‘public functionary’ includes a person of the rank of Minister but does not include the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.’’
Accordingly, he said, “there is a specific exclusion of the Speaker from the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta to inquire into allegations made against the said functionary.’’ Stating that “the jurisdictional bar would, therefore, be attracted to the complaint insofar as the complaint has been sent to the Lokayukta for being processed under the Act,’’ he said, “this is not a case where the Constitutional Head in exercise of his constitutional or residuary powers has requested a statutory authority to look into a matter or give his advice, in which case, the delegatee would be acting on the basis of specific authorisation for a particular purpose, by the Constitutional Head.’’
“In the instant case,’’, the Lokayukta said, “the complaint has been sent to the Office of Lokayukta by the Additional Secretary (Vigilance) and, hence, has to be dealt with by the Lokayukta under the provisions of The Delhi Lokayukta & Upalokayukta Act, 1995. The allegations made relate to and are in respect of the tenure of the respondent as Speaker. The jurisdictional bar, therefore, operates.’’
The Lokayukta further said “before parting with the case and without having gone into the merits of the allegations, it may be observed that the complainant, who last served as Secretary of the Legislative Assembly, is privy to the functioning of the Assembly and the Bureau of Legislative Studies, has made allegations of a serious nature against the Presiding Officer.
Some of the allegations constitute offences under the Indian Penal Code, such as forgery for the purpose of cheating and, in fact, cheating the government, apart from abuse of power and position, financial and other irregularities.’’
Stating that “the concerned complainant swears to the truth of the allegations being made,’’ Justice Sarin said, “it is, therefore, desirable that when such serious allegations are made and the concerned official vouchsafes for their veracity, then it is necessary that the truth and factual position about the allegations is ascertained, to maintain the dignity and honour of the constitutional position involved.’’ He added that “in case, the allegations are found to be untrue on inquiry, then the concerned official must be proceeded with for misconduct and in accordance with law, while if there is substance in the allegations, then law must take its own course.’’