Ball set rolling for Lokayukta’s removal

83 BJP, JD(S) MLAs sign petition

Updated - November 18, 2015 05:42 am IST

Published - November 18, 2015 12:00 am IST - BENGALURU:

In the first step towards removal of Karnataka Lokayukta Y. 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 D.H. Shankaramurthy as well.

A total 46 BJP members and 37 JD(S) members in the Assembly and 29 BJP members and 12 JD(S) in the Council 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.

Mr. Rao, who has not budged despite calls for his resignation, is on a long leave since July after his son was arrested by the Special Investigation Team. The petition was signed by 83 MLAs, more than the number mandated by the Karnataka Lokayukta Act. 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’. The Speaker said he would refer it to the Chief Justice of the High Court for investigation in two or three days.

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.

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. Terming it a “legally complicated matter”, Mr. Thimmappa said, “I want to have an unanimous opinion on this.” “The three members — consisting two members appointed by the Chief Justice and one by us — will inquire and come out with a finding, which will be placed before the legislature and a final decision will be taken.” 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.

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