Karnataka

Defending ACB, govt. tells HC that Lokayukta’s power not diluted

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ACB received 421 petitions from Lokayukta after given power to probe corruption cases

The State government on Thursday defended setting up of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988, by withdrawing the power which was earlier vested with the Lokayukta police.

“Neither anything was taken away from the Lokayukta nor has the government diluted the Karnataka Lokayukta Act by setting up of ACB with effect from March 14, 2016,” it was contended before a Division Bench comprising Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Suraj Govindraj during the hearing of petitions challenging the legality of the creation of ACB.

State-Advocate General Prabhuling K. Navadgi also contended that the Lokayukta had nothing to do with the PC Act and establishment of ACB does not amount to diluting the power of the Lokayukta, while arguing that the government has the executive power under Article 162 of the Constitution to issue an order for creating a separate police wing.

The A-G termed as “baseless” the allegation made in the petitions that the Lokayukta has been rendered toothless owing to withdrawal of power under PC Act from the Lokayukta police, while contending that Lokayukta has all the powers that are vested under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.

The ACB is a separate wing in the police to exclusively investigate cases under the PC Act on the lines of special wings like cybercrime, economic and narcotics control bureau, the A-G said, contending that the State government has the power to declare a police station under Section 17 of the PC Act.

To a query from the Bench that under whose control the ACB functions, the A-G said that the ACB workers under the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, which is controlled by the Chief Minister. The A-G also said that one of the main objective of any elected government is to give good governance, which means a corruption-free government, and it would not be correct to say that good government is not possible merely because the political executives control the ACB.

Cases from Lokayukta

The ACB told the court that it had received 421 petitions from the office of the Registrar of the Lokayukta after the power to probe corruption cases was given to the ACB. Of them, 117 petitions are pending inquiry, in 13 cases the report was sent to the Registrar of Lokayukta after inquiry, in 16 cases the FIRs have been filed, and 251 petitions have been closed after inquiry.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:47:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/defending-acb-govt-tells-hc-that-lokayuktas-power-not-diluted/article30526784.ece

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