Sixteen Lokayuktas have sent a number of recommendations to the Centre to enhance their “effectiveness” which include making the anti-corruption body the nodal agency for receiving all graft complaints and conferring it jurisdiction over probe agencies at State-level.
The recommendations, finalised at the last week’s Lokayukta conference in New Delhi, include brining bureaucrats under ambit of the Lokayuktas, vesting them with powers of search and seizure and powers to initiate contempt proceedings and ensuring their administrative and financial autonomy.
The conference, attended by Lokayuktas and Upa Lokayuktas of 19 States, felt that there was a “dire need” to bring NGOs getting government funding under the ambit of Lokayuktas.
Briefing media on outcome of the conference, Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin said the recommendations have been sent to Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar.
He said the conference felt that Lokayuktas should be made nodal agency for receipt of all complaints in case of “corruption and maladministration” and they should forward the complaints to the appropriate authority or anti-corruption agencies for further action.
“It is indisputably accepted that the executive should not have jurisdiction over the anti-corruption bodies such as CBI, CVC etc. If at all such jurisdiction is to be conferred, Lokayukta in the State should have supervisory jurisdiction over the anti-corruption bodies/agencies of the State,” he said.
The Lokayuktas also sought the protocol of ‘State Guest’ in those States where the protocol is not granted.
In another resolution, the Lokayuktas said officials from civil service or those holding civil posts or employed in connection with government services should be brought under ambit of the anti-graft bodies. In Delhi, IAS officers, police and DDA are specifically excluded from the ambit of Lokayukta’s jurisdiction.
“Role of a secretary and a minister is so inextricably entwined that one does not know where one ends and the other begins. Two different inquiries on the same transaction by different agencies can result in waste of time and possibly a conflicting finding,” Justice Sarin said.
He said the conference felt that there was a need to confer the Lokayuktas the power to take suo-moto cognisance of complaints as in some States the power has not been conferred on the anti-corruption watchdog.
Demanding power of search and seizure as in some States the power has not been given to the Lokayuktas, he said the conference felt that the anti-graft bodies should also be given financial and administrative autonomy.
“Lokayuktas cannot be made to seek day-to-day approvals from the very authorities over whom they have investigative jurisdiction. President of India in his address has endorsed this view by advising the need for adequate financial and administrative autonomy for Lokayuktas,” Justice Sarin said.
He said concerned parties often challenge the orders of Lokayuktas and obtain stay from the courts without making the anti-corruption bodies a party. “It is, therefore, necessary that there should be an enabling clause for Lokayuktas to intervene in such cases or seek impleadment in any court of law.”
Justice Sarin said the conference felt that there was a need to ensure proper protection of the whistle-blowers.”
He said the Lokayuktas also appealed to the higher judiciary to appreciate the sensitivity of functioning and objectives of the Lokayukta and inquiries, investigations being conducted by them.
On criticism for not carrying out probe into allegations of wrongdoings in implementation of Commonwealth Games projects, Justice Sarin said he did not have jurisdiction over various authorities involved in the projects.