Petitioners, ex-Lokayuktas welcome order and demand its immediate implementation

Former Lokayukta P. Vishwanath Shetty. 

Former Lokayukta P. Vishwanath Shetty.  | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Anti-corruption crusaders and former Lokayuktas of the State have welcomed the High Court order setting aside the Government Order (GO) on formation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). They have also advised the State government against challenging the order and demanded that the Karnataka Lokayukta be immediately strengthened restoring ACB powers to the Lokayukta.

Former Lokayukta P. Vishwanath Shetty, who as Lokayukta submitted an affidavit supporting a bunch of PILs challenging the ACB, welcomed the High Court order and said the State government was virtually left with no option but to implement the order and restore powers to the Lokayukta.

S.R. Hiremath of Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, one of the petitioners before the High Court of Karnataka challenging the ACB, said the order was a vindication of the will of the people. "We hope the State government doesn't go challenging the order in the Supreme Court at the cost of public exchequer. We have seen how the High Court recently showed to the government and people of the State what ACB is up to. I hope the government humbly accepts the order and implements it immediately," he said.

Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta

Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta | Photo Credit: K Murali Kumar

Former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde also welcomed the order of the court and said he had his apprehensions as to whether it will be implemented in letter and spirit. "When Karnataka Lokayukta submitted reports on illegal mining in 2011, Congress then in Opposition took out a padayatra demanding it's implementation. But when they came to power, they not only did not implement that report, they created ACB and sabotaged Lokayukta. In turn, BJP claimed in its manifesto that they will disband ACB within 24 hours of coming to power, but did not make any efforts to that end. The politicians, be it any government of any political philosophy, have vested interest in not having a strong Lokayukta. I hope the BJP government adheres to its commitment in their manifesto, and restores powers to Lokayukta," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hiremath also demanded that the State government also reverse amendments to Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 and restore the qualification of Lokayukta back to either a former Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court, which has now been diluted to a former judge of a High Court.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2022 6:14:20 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/petitioners-ex-lokayuktas-welcome-order-and-demand-its-immediate-implementation/article65758706.ece