BENGALURU: Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty rejected two petitions seeking sanction to prosecute CM Siddaramaiah, 78 MLAs and two MLCs on the ground that they had intentionally insulted and brought to disrepute Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi by moving a notice of motion before the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and making unfounded charges.
Ruling that only the aggrieved person – the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta – can initiate proceedings for the prosecution against those who tarnished their image, Lokayukta Justice Shetty rejected the complaints as devoid of merits. The complainants – Janadhikara Sangharsha Parishath and Ramamurthy Gowda – approached the Lokayukta seeking sanction to prosecute those who signed notice of motion against Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi, saying that they are liable to be prosecuted for having violated Section 17(2) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act.
Janadhikara Sangharsha Parishat filed a complaint on June 18, 2016 before the Lokayukta to invoke Section 17(2 ) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act against 78 MLAs. Subsequently, the charges were found not established by the committee of Justice R B Budihal, after the reference was made to the Chief Justice by the Speaker of Legislative Assembly. A Ramamurthy Gowda on December 14, 2015 had also sought permission from the Lokayukta to prosecute Siddaramaiah, the then Cooperation Minister Mahadeva Prasad, Law Minister Jayachandra and two MLCs V S Ugrappa and H M Revanna. The chairman of the Legal Cell on August 22, 2017 was of the view that the complainants were not entitled to seek permission to prosecute them, which was concurred by the Registrar.
“The word ‘concerned’ referred in the provision related to prosecution to be initiated for tarnishing the image must be understood as applicable to both the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta. Therefore, it is only at the instance of either the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta who is hurt or aggrieved by the action of somebody who offends/contravenes the Section 17 (1) (2) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act that prosecution of such persons can be initiated. It is because the above provisions intend to uphold the majesty and dignity of the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta,” he said.