He urges Lieutenant-Governor to request the President to reconsider her decision absolving the Chief Minister

In a first-of-its-kind case, Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin has filed a Special Report with the Lieutenant-Governor urging him to request the President to reconsider her decision absolving Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of the charge of falsely misrepresenting to the public on the eve of the 2008 Delhi Assembly elections that 60,000 houses under the Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojna were ready and the process of allotment was to be begun.

Justice Sarin has written to the Lieutenant-Governor that he urge the competent authority (President Pratibha Patil) to administer caution to the respondent (Chief Minister) as originally recommended, failing which the Special Report be placed before the Delhi Assembly under sub-section (6) of Section-12 of the Delhi Lokaykuta and Upalokayukta Act 1995.

Explaining the background of the case, the Lokayukta said: “It would appear that the President was not properly advised with regard to the factual position and the admitted position and role of the respondent, which led to advice of caution being given to the Department of Urban Development instead of the respondent for her message.''

He pointed out that “it was neither the case of the complainant nor the respondent that there was any negligence on the part of the Urban Development Department or its officers. The respondent had duly owned her message and had not claimed that the Department was responsible for this. She had rather justified the message.''

In these circumstances, Justice Sarin said, “there was no occasion for the Ministry of Home to advise or attribute the misconduct to the Department of Urban Development, which is really an abstraction, and recommend to Her Excellency, to issue the advisory to the said Department to be careful.”

The Lokayukta has also found faults with the manner in which his report was treated.

“It is observed that the processing of the report of Lokayukta was in violation of the prescribed statutory procedure. Under Section 12 (2), the Competent Authority is required to ‘examine the report' and intimate the action taken or proposed to be taken on the basis of the report,'' he said.

Noting that “it is only the report which is to be considered, which incidentally had all the evidence, defence, submission of the parties and findings of the Lokayukta,'' Justice Sarin said “on examination of the above material in the report, the Competent Authority is to take a decision. The Act neither contemplates nor provides for a further inquiry or comments being sought from the indicted persons or the Government Department or production of extraneous material, which may or may not have been produced during the inquiry, to form the basis of the decision-making process on the part of the Competent Authority.''

“The report of the Lokayukta is recommendatory in nature and it is solely within the discretion of the Competent Authority to accept the report or not to accept the report. Of course, in case of non-acceptance, Competent Authority is to state the reasons to avoid the vice of arbitrariness. In appropriate cases, if certain aspects require any clarification or further investigation, Competent Authority can remand the matter to the Lokayukta. However, no further inquiry or consideration of other material apart from the Report is permissible.''

In view of this, the Lokayukta said the Special Report was submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor on March 20, 2012.

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