House panel, Lokayukta heading towards confrontation

Committee writes to Speaker seeking nod to move privilege motion against Lokayukta Registrar for not submitting details on grants utilisation

Published: 06th October 2017 02:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2017 10:24 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A Legislative Assembly Committee headed by an MLA has written to the Speaker seeking permission to move privilege motion against the Registrar of Karantaka Lokayukta for alleged disrespect. The move is likely to lead to a confrontation between the Lokayukta and House Panel.

Legislative Assembly Committee on Papers Laid on the Table headed by Sa Ra Mahesh, JD(S) MLA from KR Nagar constituency, has written to Speaker K B Koliwad on October 3 seeking permission to move the motion against the Registrar. Reason: The  Registrar did not respond to the two letters sent by the committee in August and September asking him to appear before it and submit the details regarding the utilisation of state’s grants by the institution in the last six years. Any department/institution is accountable to the committee if it is using government grants, according to the committee.

Speaking to Express, Mahesh said: “We have high regard for the Karnataka Lokayukta but the act of the Registrar amounts to disrespect as he did not appear. The principal secretary of the department appeared but not the Registrar. Ours is a committee of 17 members constituted by the Assembly Speaker,” he said.
A source in the Lokayukta said that it is accountable to the Governor, and not the committee. “The details of using government grants are submitted to the Governor. The Registrar is a district judge and it is not appropriate for him to go and stand before the committee. Even then, in response to the committee’s communication, we have sought eight weeks time to examine the legal position as to know whether the institution is liable to submit the details asked by the committee. This was to avoid a confrontation between the institution and the House panel,” a source said.

When contacted, Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty confirmed the letter written by the Registrar to the committee. “There is no question of showing disrespect to anyone as we have high regard for the elected representatives and also believe in democracy. Accordingly, the institution rightly responded to the committee’s communication. We are bound by the Constitution and follow the law. At the same time, we have also examined whether the committee is interfering in the functioning of the Lokayukta. If it is not permissible and if we find the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction is encroached upon, the institution will resist within four corners of law,” he said.

However, Mahesh said they have not received any response from the Lokayukta’s office. There was no question of writing to the Speaker if the Lokayukta sought time to reply, he added.  
“I have checked with my secretariat and I haven’t received any communication. However, I will examine the communication after I receive it to decide whether I should give permission for moving a privilege motion,” Speaker Koliwad told Express.

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