BENGALURU: Warning the officials that undue delay on the part of the authorities in giving benefits to the widows or family members of the deceased defence personnel cannot be condoned in any manner, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty has directed the state government to dispose of the applications of martyrs’ families within eight weeks from today.
Further, Justice Shetty directed the Revenue department to submit the status report after securing the report from the deputy commissioners concerned on the issue. “The report should have reasons for delay in respect of each application on the part of the officers who are responsible for the same along with their name and present address shall also be submitted along with the status report on October 25, 2018,” Lokayukta said.
The Lokayukta issued this direction after registering a suo motu complaint on Monday, based on The New Indian Express report titled ‘Families of martyrs wait endlessly for compensation from state’, which was published on July 19, 2018. “If the unreasonable delay in disposal of the applications filed by the members of the deceased defence personnel is caused, the same can be treated as dereliction of duty and willful negligence and amounts to maladministration under Section 2(10) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984,” Lokayukta said.
The TNIE story had indicated that in the last three years, more than 14 soldiers from Karnataka died on duty and except one of them, the dependents of others could not get the benefits to which they are entitled. The story narrated the plight of the family members of 13 martyrs from Karnataka who are waiting for the benefit as the relevant files are help up at respective Deputy Commissioner’s offices and Urban Development Authorities concerned of those districts.
“The usual administrative difficulties or pressure of regular work cannot be a ground to keep pending the applications made for grant of land or site by the family members of the martyred defence personnel. It is the prime duty of all the authorities concerned of the state to take immediate steps to consider the claim made by the widows/family members of the deceased defence personnel in granting the land, site and other financial benefits in accordance with the rules prescribed by the state,” the Lokayukta said.
MANY DEPARTMENTS GET NOTICES
The Lokayukta has issued notice to the Principal Secretaries of Revenue Department, Urban Development Department and Finance Department, the Director of Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, for the purpose of considering the grievance of the members of the family members of the martyred defence personnel, whose cases were highlighted in the story, and also to examine the status of other similar cases pending before the various authorities of the state. Lokayukta also directed to implead following authorities as respondents to the proceedings in the case. They are Deputy Commissioners of Gadag, Hassan, Mysuru, Vijayapura, Dakshina Kannada, Dharwad, Belagavi, Bengaluru Urban districts and the Commissioners of Gadag, Hassan, Mysuru, Vijayapura, Mangaluru, Dharwad, Belagavi and Bengaluru Development Authorities as respondents.
‘DESPITE HC ORDER, AID WAS DELAYED ’
Pointing out the judgment dated August 25, 2014 in case of H N Jaya Kumar v/s State of Karnataka and others, the Lokayukta stated that the Karnataka High Court had directed all the authorities to dispose of the applications of widows/family members of martyred defence personnel within prescribed time. In spite of the HC order, the news published in TNIE shows that the authorities of the state were causing undue delay. Under these circumstances, “I am of the view that it is in the interest of justice and family members of the deceased defence personnel who have lost the bread-winners to the families to institute suo motu proceedings in exercise of the powers conferred on me, with a view to consider issuance of appropriate directions to the concerned authorities to give relief to such families in accordance with rules and to recommend appropriate action against such of the defaulting officers.”