Karnataka Lokayukta
Karnataka Lokayukta

        Problems of Redressal of Citizens Grievances was the subject on which the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Late Shri. Morarji Desai, who later became the Prime Minister of India gave its first report. It is that report which recommended for the establishment of Lokpal and Lokayukta institutions at the Central and State level respectively for redressal of citizens grievances by investigating into administrative actions taken by or on behalf of Central Government or State Government or certain public authorities. These institutions were intended to serve as institutions independent of the Government concerned and as institutions to supplement the judicial institutions headed by Chief Justices or Judges of Supreme Court of India or High Court of the State.

        The recommendation for appointment of Lokayuktas at the States level, as indicated in that report, was made to improve the standards of Public Administration, by looking into complaints against administrative actions, including cases of corruption, favouritism and official indiscipline in administrative machinery. It is the said recommendation which made the Karnataka State Legislature to enact the Karnataka Lokayukta Act 1984 for investigating into allegations or grievances in respect of administrative actions relatable to matters specified in List II or List III of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution of India.

        The Act provides for the appointment of a Lokayukta and one or more Upalokayuktas to investigate and report on allegations or grievances relating to the conduct of public servants.The public servants who are covered by the Act include :-
(1) Chief Minister;
(2) all other Ministers and Members of the State Legislature;
(3) all officers of the State Government;
(4) Chairman, Vice Chairman of local authorities, Statutory bodies or Corporations established by or under any law of the State Legislature, including Co-operative Societies;
(5) Persons in the service of Local Authorities, Corporations owned or controlled by the State Government, a company in which not less than 50% of the shares are held by the State Government, Societies registered under the State Registration Act, Co-operative Societies and Universities established by or under any law of the Legislature.

        Where, after investigation into the complaint, the Lokayukta or an Upalokayukta as the case may be considers that the allegation against a public servant is prima facie true and makes a declaration that the post held by him, and the declaration is accepted by the competent authority, the public servant concerned, if he is a Chief Minister or any other Minister or Member of State Legislature shall resign his office and if he is any other non-official shall be deemed to have vacated his office, and, if an official, shall be deemed to have been kept under suspension, with effect from the date of the acceptance of the declaration.

        As per section 14 of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 if after investigation into any complaint the Lokayukta or an Upa-lokayukta is satisfied that the public servant has committed any criminal offence (and should be prosecuted) in a Court of law for such offence, then, he may pass an order to that effect and initiate prosecution of the public servant concerned and if prior sanction of any authority is required for such prosecution, then, notwithstanding anything contained in any law, such sanction shall be deemed to have been granted by the appropriate authority on the date of such order. If after investigation, the Lokayukta or an Upalokayukta as the case may be is satisfied that the public servant has committed any criminal offence, he may initiate prosecution without reference to any other authority. Any prior sanction required under any law for such prosecution shall be deemed to have been granted. As per Section 63 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, every State shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State, if not so established, constituted or appointed, by a law made by the State Legislature to deal with complaints relating to corruption against the public servants

        A person to be appointed as the Lokayukta shall be a person who has held the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court or that of a Chief Justice of a High Court or a person who has held the office of a Judge of a High Court for not less than 10 years. A person to be appointed as Upalokayukta shall be a person who has held the office of a Judge of a High Court for not less than 5 years. Lokayukta and Upalokayukta are appointed by the Governor on the advise tendered by Chief Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, Chairman, Karnataka Legislative Council, the Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council and the Leader of the opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. As per Rule 6 of Karnataka Lokayukta Rules, 1985, the conditions of service of Lokayukta shall be on par with those applicable to the Chief Justice of India and the conditions of service of Upalokayukta shall be on part with those applicable to a Judge of a High Court.

        All the officers and employees of the institution of Lokayukta are to assist Lokayukta and Upalokayuktas. The categories, recruitment and conditions of service of the officers and employees appointed/deputed to assist the Lokayukta and the Upalokayuktas shall be as may be prescribed in consultation with the Lokayukta to enable them to act without fear in the discharge of their functions. The officers and other employees of Lokayukta shall be under the administrative and disciplinary control of the Lokayukta.

        In the case of C. Rangaswamaiah and others Vs. Karnataka Lokayukta and others (1998) 6 SCC 66, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed that, the independence of the institution of Lokayukta and its effective functioning are the matters of utmost importance. In the case of Institution of A.P. Lokayukta/Upalokayukta Vs. T. Ramasubba Reddy (1997) 9 SCC 42, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed that, when the institution of Lokayukta is headed by high judicial dignitaries, such authorities should be armed with appropriate powers so that their orders and opinions do not become mere paper directions. The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka in the case of Sri. J.P. Prakash Vs. The State of Karnataka and another (WP No. 5361/2016 (S-KAT) dated 06-04-2016 (DB) observed that when the Lokayukta or Upalokayukta has recommended for initiation of enquiry under Section 12(3) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, the government cannot go behind the recommendation unless it is set aside by the competent court or only in exceptional circumstances and on a very strong ground. In the case of The Hon’ble Lokayukta and another V/s. Sri. Prakash T.V. and others (W.P. No. 29212/2017 (S-KAT) C/W W.P. No. 29213/2017 and 38938/2018 (S-KAT) dated 29-06-2021, the Division Bench of Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka has held that the institution of Karnataka Lokayukta being a statutory body constituted to curb the menace of corruption, has an institutional interest and as well as the locus to challenge the order passed by Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal in the matters dealt by it.

        The Act enables a person aggrieved by the conduct of a public servant or in case of maladministration, corruption, misconduct or official indiscipline, a complaint may be filed before this institution in the prescribed format. Such complaints will be investigated and if the Lokayukta or an Upalokayukta is satisfied that such action of the public servant has resulted in injustice or caused undue hardship to the complainant or to any other person a recommendation will be made to the Competent Authority concerned for the redressal of the grievance and also for taking appropriate action against the public servant who has committed such misconduct. The Act also provides for referring the cases to Lokayukta or an Upalokayukta for investigation by the Government.

         Institution of Karnataka Lokayukta consists of Enquiry Wing, Technical Audit Cell and Police Wing. The Enquiry Wing consists of Judicial officers and Prosecutors/Presenting Officers. The Technical Audit Cell consists of Engineers and Auditors who conduct investigation referred to them by Lokayukta/Upalokayuktas in the matters which require expert examination such as allegations of execution of substandard works by the public servants, misappropriation of money etc. The Police Wing deals with the cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act-1988. It also assists the Lokayukta/Upalokayuktas in conducting investigation into the complaints registered under the provisions of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 as and when referred to it by the Lokayukta/Upalokayuktas.

        The Act also empowers the Lokayukta and Upalokayukta to initiate suo-moto investigations in respect of the public grievances and allegations. In large number of cases having public interest, Lokayukta and Upalokayuktas have initiated suo-moto investigations and thereby appropriate steps are being taken to redress the grievance of general public.

        Apart from the above, in terms of the orders passed by the Lokayukta from time to time the police officers visit the various Government offices to redress the grievance of the general public. The Police Wing is also empowered by Hon’ble Lokayukta to visit the Taluka places and receive the petition/complaint from the general public so that remedial steps are taken to redress the grievances.In the notification of the Government dated 14-03-2016, the Government has formed Anti Corruption Bureau to register and investigate the cases under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The same is challenged before the Hon’ble High Court in W.P. No. 19386/2016 and in the interim order passed by the Hon’ble High Court on 07-04-2016, the Hon’ble High Court has directed that, the cases pending for investigation at the Police Wing of Karnataka Lokayukta should not be transferred to the newly formed Anti Corruption Bureau and shall be continued with the Karnataka Lokayukta. In the same writ petition in an interlocutory application filed by the Institution of the Lokayukta, the Hon’ble High Court in its order dated 12.02.2021 has directed the Anti Corruption Bureau to forward the copies of all the charge sheets filed by it before various courts for the offences punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act to the Registrar, Karnataka Lokayukta for being placed before the Lokayukta or Upa-lokayukta as the case may be for initiating necessary disciplinary proceedings against such delinquent employees. As per the said order, the copies of the charge sheets filed by the Anti Corruption Bureau are forwarded to this institution and Lokayukta or Upalokayukta as the case may be are taking up the investigation and forwarding the appropriate recommendations if it is called for.

        In addition to the powers and functions invested under the provisions of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, the institution is also conducting disciplinary enquiries in respect of cases entrusted to it by the Competent Authority under Rule 14-A of the Karnataka Civil Services (classification, control and appeal) Rules, 1957 and after completion of enquiry the findings of the enquiry officers and the recommendation of the Lokayukta or the Upalokayukta as the case may be are sent to the Government for taking necessary action.

        The statistics and the other details relating to the institution and disposal of the cases are uploaded in this website.