BENGALURU: Newly appointed Upa Lokayukta, a former High Court judge, calls himself a “silent crusader” with positive approach to work. Keen to take the institution close to people, Justice BS Patil plans to visit institutions in the sectors that are prone to grievances, dereliction of duty and red-tape and take appropriate action.
In an Interview to The New Sunday Express, Justice Patil said, “We should make an endeavour to bring timely justice to the doorsteps of the people, bring in transparency in the system and ensure that erring officials do not go scot-free.”
What came to your mind when government sought your consent before making the appointment?
It is an opportunity to do good work since there is good scope.
What will be your priority as the Upa Lokayukta?
Bring in utmost efficiency among the officials of the institution. It will help to deliver speedy justice and in clearing pending cases. I have found that the officials in the institution are experienced. Together we can do good work. For this, both focus and commitment are important. Ultimately, officials should be satisfied about their work when they look back at the end of their service. That is what I felt when I demitted the office in May 2018 after serving almost one and a half decade as a Judge of the Karnataka High Court. I will continue the same legacy as Upa Lokayukta and discharge my duties to the best of my ability.
As a Upa Lokayukta, how do you plan to make the institution more accessible to common man, a victim of the corruption in the system?
Our doors are open for the people. However, in the coming days, I will visit different places periodically to listen to public grievances. This is important as illiterate people may not be able to come here. The idea can fructify.
How do you plan to clear pending cases?
My responsibility is to respond to the grievances of the people/victims and redress the same in a time-bound manner For this, we must instil confidence in people by giving speedy justice. The cases are piled up as the post was vacant for 20 months. Now, I am discussing with the officials on the ways to to improve the system.
Any particular departments that you will be focusing on?
I have not yet chosen any particular department but my target is the sectors that are prone to grievances, dereliction of duty and red-tape. We should sensitise the system and send a message to every nook and corner. An atmosphere should be created to assure people that the Upa Lokayukta will definitely take action if he comes across complaints, and the ‘so called officers’ better be careful.
Do you think the institution has enough powers to fight corruption, as power to register complaints under the Prevention of Corruption Act is not there with it now?
We have to function with whatever the powers we have and do the assigned work. I don’t want to comment on the other matter as it is pending before the High Court.
There is a perception that the institution of Lokayukta has not done much to fight corruption, especially involving senior officials and politicians. What are your views?
I don’t want to give reasons. All I can say is that all are equal in the eye of law.