BENGALURU: Minutes after taking oath as Upa Lokayukta, Justice Narayanappa Ananda, former judge at the Karnataka High Court, got down to work at the Lokayukta office on Wednesday evening.
The man, known for his honesty and straightforward approach, was administered the oath of office by Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan around 6.30 pm. Soon after that, the new Upa Lokayukta, accompanied by Registrar (in-charge) M S Balakrishna, headed straight to his office.
Justice Ananda’s appointment has come at a time when the anti-corruption ombudsman is under the lens following the extortion racket run from its premises. The then Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao, whose son is in jail in connection with the scam, resigned recently, while Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi has not been attending work after a motion seeking his removal was adopted by the Assembly.
Justice Ananda, appointed in place of Justice S B Majage, who retired on July 17, faces the daunting task of restoring credibility to the institution, and attending to the complaints that are piling up in the absence of a head for the institution.
Justice Ananda has worked in various capacities, including 16 years as an advocate, 13 years as a district judge and nine years as a High Court judge. During his recent address to advocates, he had highlighted importance of morality and also touched upon the increasing number of white-collar criminals who are damaging the country’s reputation. He shared his views with media after taking charge on Wednesday. Excepts:
You have been appointed at a time when the Lokayukta’s reputation has taken a beating. Your expectations?
Within the ambit of powers conferred with the Upa Lokayukta, I will work honestly in the interest of the public and try my best to address their grievances.
Will you take up complaints coming under the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta as well?
No. If I do so, I will be stepping into the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.
Will you address the complaints pending before both Upa Lokayukta-1 and Upa Lokayukta-2?
I will take a decision after studying the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984. I will also discuss this issue with the administrative officers of the Lokayukta.
Are you concerned with the decrease in the number of cases filed with the Lokayukta after the scam surfaced?
Just because there is a hospital, people cannot come and get admitted if they have no illness. Similarly, in the case of the Lokayukta too, people will file complaints if there are reasons. There may be ups and downs in the number of complaints. We can’t say that people are not coming to the Lokayukta because of the controversy.
What do you have to say about the scam?
What I can say? I have just taken charge and my opinion is not different from that of the common man.