BENGALURU: For the first time in its history, the anti-corruption watchdog, Karnataka Lokayukta, has now approached the high court against government interference.
Over the last few years, the Lokayukta institution has been systematically weakened bythe government like disbanding its police wing and setting up of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The latest attempt to undermine the institution is a breach of privilege motion being moved against the Lokayukta registrar, an in-service judicial officer in the cadre of district and sessions judge.
The writ petition has been filed by the Lokayukta himself and the registrar. This follows a notice from the Assembly secretariat seeking a reply from the Lokayukta registrar ahead of moving the privilege motion. The petition is likely to come up for hearing this week.
The provocation for the notice is that the Lokayukta registrar did not appear before the Legislative Assembly Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, headed by MLA S R Mahesh, to place the annual performance report of the institution and the audited report regarding utilisation of state’s grants over the last six years.
Legislative Assembly secretary S Murthy wrote to the registrar on December 26, 2017 after Speaker K B Koliwad sought a report from the Privileges Committee to which the matter had been referred by the committee headed by Mahesh and recommending moving a privilege motion against him for alleged disrespect.
Sources said a consolidated fund is granted to the Lokayukta institution and its accounts are audited by the Comptroller & Auditor General every year.
‘Integrity at stake’
A judicial officer in the Lokayukta said the sanctity, integrity and autonomous status of the institution is now at stake as there is a lobby of IAS officers behind moving the breach of privilege motion against the registrar as some cases against them are pending before it.