Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty resumed work on Monday, 45 days after an attempt on his life was made by a knife-wielding disillusioned man Tejraj Sharma at his office. In an interview, Justice Shetty shares his views with Yathiraju of The New Indian Express. Excerpts:
How is your condition now?
I have completely recovered now and so I resumed work today. I thank God for saving me.
What do you have to say about the incident?
The accused has done a great injustice to the cause of public interest. It is a assault on the institution and not on the individual. Such actions must be viewed seriously.
Immediately after the incident, when you were in hospital, what was running through your mind?
When I was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), I thought that it will not be correct to put down my papers and get out of the office just because of one person (the accused). Leaving office due to the incident would have been like a soldier deserting the army and running away as the enemy is shooting at him. Similarly, if I run away, I will be doing a great disservice to my parents and it will set the wrong precedent. We must fight out evils in the society. Therefore, I must continue to work for the good of the people as per my conscience within the boundaries of law.
Do you plan to change your
methods that put your own security at stake ?
I wanted to make the Lokayukta institution people-friendly. Anyone should be able to visit at any time. I could have asked my gunman to sit inside my chamber but I didn't think he would attack me as I am only doing some good work for society.
Your comment on accusations of inaction made by Tejraj ?
I can't act like a monarch arbitrarily. Each person has his own perception on how best to discharge his duty. Institutional integrity is important. The Lokayukta is not a solution to all irregularities, as the institution can look into the complaints of maladministration. The complainants can challenge my order before the High Court if they are not satisfied.
Why do you think you were attacked?
I have passed more serious orders as Lokayukta than the judge of the High Court and disposed of highest cases. Quite naturally, the result of high disposal is displeasing one party. I cannot please everyone.
What steps have you put in place to ensure security at office?
I have more concern for my officials. I have to protect them from any kind of threat. So security will be tightened and same will not be hurdle for free entry of public.
Your son Dr K Ravishankar Shetty chose to complete an ongoing surgery during which news about your stabbing was conveyed to him. Only then did he leave to be by your side...
I am proud of my son Dr K Ravishankar Shetty for his professional ethics and commitment. He saved a child and also his own father. The life of a six-year-old child is more important than the 73-year-old father. He has done it.