The High Court of Karnataka has found fault with the manner in which the Lokayukta had in 2017 accepted the recommendation of an Assistant Registrar (Enquiries) to close a complaint of alleged violations by members of the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) of a tender floated in 2014 by the Department of Employment and Training.
The court said closure of the complaint by the Lokayukta on May 23, 2017, by approving the recommendation to close the complaint, was contrary to the law as the mandate of the Section 9(6) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, was not complied with.
It asked the Lokayukta to consider the complaint afresh.
The Lokayukta had merely written “approved” on the scrutiny note put up by the Assistant Registrar for closure of the complaint even though the Section 9(6) states that “in any case where the Lokayukta or an Upalokayukta decides not to entertain a complaint or to discontinue any investigation in respect of a complaint he shall record his reasons therefore and communicate it to the complainant and the public servant concerned.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty passed the order while allowing a petition filed by Bahaadur Sethia, the proprietor of a company dealing with cooling and refrigeration system. The petitioner in April 2014 had complained to the Lokayukta about violations by the TEC in scrutinising the tender invited in January 2014 for procuring certain equipment to 28 government-run ITIs.
The Bench noted that the Assistant Registrar, in his first scrutiny report, had found that six officials had alleged guilty of dereliction of duty while setting out detailed reason. However, the Assistant Registrar later, in his second scrutiny report, had recommended closure of the complaint while stating that the complainant was making effort to ensure that other bidders are disqualified.
“The further scrutiny report [of the Assistant Registrar] is cryptic and suffers from the vice of non application of mind,” the Bench observed, while restoring the complaint by quashing the second scrutiny report.