Lokpal should cover politicians, bureaucrats: Santosh Hegde

Updated - September 29, 2016 02:40 pm IST

Published - April 26, 2011 12:40 am IST - PANAJI:

The Karnataka Lokayukta and Member of Jan Lokpal Bill Joint Drafting Committee N. Santosh Hedge on Monday made a forceful plea for bringing politicians and bureaucrats under the jurisdiction of the proposed Lokpal at the Centre as maladministration and corruption could not take place without the nexus between the two.

Speaking at a public meeting at the International Centre Goa (ICG) at Dona Paula near here on Monday on “Role of Lokayukta in good governance”, Mr. Hedge, a retired Supreme Court judge, likened the bureaucrats and their political bosses to conjoined twins. Nothing happened without their collusion. They had to be surgically separated if the country were to fight maladministration and reduce corruption.

In this context, he sought to know: “If a bill is created after 40 years only for MPs, Ministers and Prime Minister under certain circumstances, will it have any effect?”

The lecture, the first in the series of lectures on ‘good governance”, was organised by ICG. The trustees of ICG, industrialist Dattaraj Salgaoncar, the former Advocate-General of Goa Atmaram Nadkarni, and Director of ICG Nandini Sahai were present.

Referring to cynicism whether the Lokpal could get rid of corruption, Mr. Hedge said it was indeed true that the corruption and maladministration was a growing disease of “greed over need” and that a Lokpal or a Lokayukta alone could not get rid of it. “But does that mean we should not start fighting?” said Mr. Hedge.

The Lokayukta said that corruption was a growing disease but “when you start fighting, it stunts its growth.”

“I agree with Digvijay Singhji,” he said sarcastically referring to the Congress leader's recent comment that he had been ineffective in controlling corruption in Karnataka. “Corruption in Karnataka has not gone down, I agree, but its growth has been reduced. It is something that an institution like Lokayukta does. It creates a fear which at least reduces the growth,” said Mr. Hegde.

IAS cadre for Goa

Speaking about Goa, Mr. Hedge expressed surprise that even after so many years since attaining Statehood, Goa continued to rely on AGMU cadre instead of having its own IAS cadre.

“I think you got to wake up and fight for certain basic rights,” said Mr. Hedge.

He regretted that every organ of the constitutional democracy today was suffering from the disease of “greed over need” and lamented that the media which had on its hard work got recognition as the fourth organ has recently failed to keep their reputation, he said referring to the growing instances of “paid news syndrome”. However, he hastened to add that the only saving grace for the media was that unlike other institutions, where outsiders had to point out about the corruption, in case of media they themselves brought out their corruption.

He assured the people that a good institution of Lokpal, empowered and headed by some who are committed to the cause of good governance could bring about a change. He hoped that society changing on its own would make a real difference, but that would take some time. And till such time, the Lokpal and the Lokayukta could certainly take care of the maladies afflicting the governance.

Earlier, Mr. Hegde told presspersons that 90 per cent of his time as Lokayukta was allocated in responding to the people's problems of maladministration and poor governance and only 10 per cent in attending to cases of corruption.

To a question, he dispelled the apprehensions that the proposed Lokpal would be a dictator or a monster stating that all his decisions would be prone to judicial review.

Not seeking extension

Mr. Hegde said that he was not even dreaming of having a second term and there was no question of his asking for any extension of his tenure.

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