The President has issued an advisory to a Delhi Government department despite Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin urging him to issue one to the Chief Minister.
Justice Sarin had urged that an ‘advisory’ be issued to Sheila Dikshit and PWD and Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan to desist from printing their photographs on loan application forms under the “Dilli Swarojgar Yojna”. President Pranab Mukherjee , has, however, chosen not to act against the two.
The President has advised the Government’s Department of Welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minority and the corporation concerned to be more careful in future and formulate policy guidelines on publicity, a letter by the Union Home Ministry said.
This is the second time that the Lokayukta had taken on Ms. Dikshit and recommended action against her to the President. Earlier, in July 2011, he had recommended Ms. Dikshit’s ‘censure’ to the President for “misrepresenting” facts by announcing in the run-up to the 2008 Assembly polls that 60,000 low-cost flats were ready. However, the then President, Pratibha Patil, had also not found anything wrong in the Chief Minister’s conduct. She had recommended that the Department take corrective action, prompting the ombudsman to file a special report with the Lieutenant-Governor.
In a letter to the Lokayukta earlier this week, the Union Home Ministry has stated that “the Lokayukta report has been examined carefully along with the comments of the Delhi Government as a well as the response of the Chief Minister. After weighing the facts and circumstances of the case, it was found that the Department for the Welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minority and the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Minority Finance and Development Corporation of Delhi Government need not print photographs of the CM and the Minister in-charge on its loan application forms as the practice does not benefit the prospective loanee in any manner”.
Earlier on May 6, 2013, the Lokayukta had recommended to the President to “efface or block the photographs if any printed on the existing forms prior to their use” and to “direct” the Delhi Government “to frame appropriate guidelines that would govern the issuance of advertisements, hoardings etc. containing photographs and images of public functionaries even during the period when the model code is not applicable so as to conform to the norms of conduct and integrity expected of ‘public functionaries’.”
The Lokayukta had issued the order on a complaint by former BJP State chief and sitting MLA Harsh Vardhan. Mr. Vardhan had alleged abuse of position and power and failure to act as per norms of integrity and conduct by the respondents in getting their photographs printed on the application forms.
It was alleged that the photographs were printed at the behest of Mr. Chauhan and with the approval of Ms. Dikshit.