Will make Karnataka Lokayukta more proactive: Justice Patil

Bhimanagouda Sanganagouda Patil  being greeted by Governor Thawaarchand Gehlot after taking oath as Lokayukta at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Bhimanagouda Sanganagouda Patil being greeted by Governor Thawaarchand Gehlot after taking oath as Lokayukta at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

B.S. Patil, who was Upalokayukta since 2019 and in-charge of Karnataka Lokayukta since P. Vishwanath Shetty retired in January 2022, was sworn-in as Lokayukta on Wednesday. He said he intends to make the Karnataka Lokayukta proactive in addressing maladministration and public grievances in a more systematic way. Edited excerpts from a conversation The Hindu had with Justice Patil after he took charge. 

As you have been working in the Karnataka Lokayukta for over two years now, you know the strengths and weaknesses of the institution. What will be the focus during your tenure?

We need to look inwards and strengthen the institution and its human resources to do an effective job of the institution’s mandate. We need to bring out the best from every employee, to ensure effectiveness and that nobody should be able to point fingers at us. 

As the Upalokayukta, my experience has been that if the institution is proactive, takes up suo motu cases we can fight maladministration well.

As Lokayukta, I intend to make the entire institution more proactive. I will take up more suo motu cases in all matters of public interest that come to my notice, which will hopefully address maladministration in a more effective way. In my experience Upalokayukta, I have seen that there are many bureaucrats who may have become complacent, but with some gentle push can deliver. But there are several instances where there are sinister designs behind maladministration which needs to be punished. We need to find a balance. 

Karnataka Lokayukta’s reports recommending action against bureaucrats have always suffered with long delay in response by the state government, bringing down the efficacy of the institution. How do you plan to deal with this? 

This has been a complaint against multiple State governments for decades now. After the stipulated time available for the government to act on our reports, we will put them up on our website making our recommendation public to bring pressure on the government to act. I intend to build pressure by going public in some cases and if need be in appropriate cases, even challenge the government’s inaction in the court. 

What is your stand on the Anti-Corruption Bureau that was carved out of the Karnataka Lokayukta which, many have argued, has emancipated the institution?

The Karnataka Lokayukta has submitted an affidavit in the Karnataka High Court in support of a public interest litigant challenging the formation of ACB. My stand is the stand taken by the institution. We hope the High Court disposes the petition at the earliest. 

You have taken charge as Lokayukta, when there is open talk of ‘40% commission’ in State government contracts and demands to reduce the kickbacks, not eliminate them altogether. Amidst growing perception of increasing corruption, how do you intend to respond to this? 

If there is actionable material brought to our notice under the purview of law, immediately a law will be set into motion and there will be no question of sparing anyone, whoever that is.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 4:58:36 pm |