News Cubic Studio

Truth and Reality

Nainital High Court seeks answer from Uttarakhand government on Lokayukta

The Nainital High Court has taken a strict stand on the appointment of Lokayukta in Uttarakhand and streamlining the institution of Lokayukta. The High Court has ordered the state government to submit its reply within 3 weeks. The Nainital High Court has ordered the government to file an additional affidavit. Through an affidavit, the government should tell what they have done till date for the appointment of Lokayukta. In the affidavit, the year-wise expenditure incurred from the formation of the institution till March 31, 2023, should also present the details of the entire expenditure. At the same time, the date of next hearing of the case has been fixed on May 8.

High court sought response from the government on Lokayukta

The Uttarakhand High Court heard the PIL filed by Ravi Shankar Joshi, a resident of Haldwani Gaulapar, regarding the appointment of the Lokayukta in the state and the smooth functioning of the Lokayukta institution. After hearing the case, a division bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Kumar Verma has asked the state government to tell the court through an affidavit what it has done so far for the appointment of the Lokayukta. Present the year-wise details of the amount spent on the institute since its inception till March 31, 2023. The date of May 8 has been fixed for the next hearing of the case.

The petitioner said that 3 crores are being spent every year in the name of Lokayukta

It has been said in the PIL that the state government has not yet appointed the Lokayukta. While 2 to 3 crore rupees are being spent annually in the name of the institute. It has been said in the PIL that strict action is being taken against corruption by the Lokayukta in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. But many scams are happening in Uttarakhand. Every small matter has to be brought to the High Court. For getting independent and fair investigation in the state by giving examples of putting many cases like NH-74 compensation scam, scholarship scam in social welfare department, medicine procurement scam in NHM of health department in cold storage by the investigating agencies like Vigilance and SIT of the state. There was a demand for the appointment of Lokayukta.

All investigative agencies are under the government

It has also been said in the PIL that at present all the investigative agencies of the state are under the government, whose complete control is in the hands of the political leadership of the state. At present, there is no such investigative agency in the state of Uttarakhand “which has the authority to register corruption cases against any gazetted officers without the prior permission of the government. Uttarakhand needs Lokayukta: In the present system of Uttarakhand state, there is no such investigative agency free from the influence and interference of the state government, which can conduct independent and fair investigation and action against any public representative or any public servant including the Chief Minister. The Vigilance Department, which is publicized in the name of independent and fair investigation, is also a part of the State Police, whose complete control remains with the Police Headquarters, Vigilance Department or the Chief Minister’s Office.

There is no expectation of fair investigation from government agencies

In these investigative agencies under the control of the state government, “on what points the investigating agency has to investigate, all administrative rights including appointment and transfer in the investigating agency, budget of the investigation committee, approval for filing charge sheet, approval for filing charges Giving, complete monitoring of the investigation during the investigation, giving all kinds of instructions to the investigating officers during the investigation, reviewing the investigation during the investigation, etc., the complete control remains in the hands of the political leadership. Many a times, in the middle of the investigation, the entire investigating agency has been changed without proper reason. Since in all the investigating agencies available in the present system, only the officers and employees under the control of the state government are the investigating officers, therefore free and fair investigation completely depends on the intention of the ruling party and its political agenda. The lack of investigation and action against any top political or administrative person in the history of the state so far is a clear proof of this.

Haven’t found an example of fair investigation yet

Rigging in almost every competitive examination of the state, in countless cases of serious corruption at the administrative level, including mining-land, in any case including the ill-gotten wealth acquired by public representatives and public servants, till date no independent and fair investigation has been done by any investigating agency. Example is not presented.

The promise of appointment of Lokayukta was not fulfilled

A completely transparent, independent and fair investigation system is a direct proof of how important it is for the citizens of the state that in the previous assembly elections, political parties formed their governments in the state to eliminate administrative and political corruption. Had promised to appoint a strong Lokayukta, which has not happened till date.

Lokayukta was formed in 2002

Be aware that in the year 2002, Lokayukta was formed in Uttarakhand and Syed Raza Abbas became the first Lokayukta of the state. After that, in the year 2008, MM Ghildiyal was appointed as the second Lokayukta. In the year 2011, the then Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri government passed the Lokayukta Bill for the first time in the assembly. Under this bill, an attempt was made to bring the chief minister to ministers and officers under the purview of the Lokayukta. Lokayukta also got the approval of the President. Meanwhile, there was a change of power in Uttarakhand. The Congress government came and Vijay Bahuguna became the CM. Whereas, the second Lokayukta MM Ghildiyal served till 2013.

New Lokayukta Bill passed in 2014

After this, the new Lokayukta Bill 2014 was passed in the assembly in the Bahuguna government. In this new Congress bill, the CM was kept out of the ambit of the Lokayukta. However, even the multiple bill could not be implemented. Then in 2017, the BJP returned to power and the Trivendra Singh Rawat government introduced a new bill in the assembly in 2017 itself and since then this bill is stuck in the assembly.

Lokayukta has not been appointed for 10 years

Overall, the Lokayukta has not been appointed in Uttarakhand since 2013. The matter of appointment of Lokayukta is pending for so many years. This is when there is a BJP government in the state and it was the BJP itself that created the most ruckus on the Lokayukta. Not only this, at the time of the 2017 assembly elections, the issue of Lokayukta was also included in the BJP’s manifesto. Then it was also said that the Lokayukta would be appointed within 100 days of the formation of the government, but the Lokayukta has not been appointed even after the formation of back to back BJP governments. However, despite this, the Lokayukta office runs and many employees are also working here. From the year 2013 till now, more than ₹ 15 crore has been spent on the Lokayukta office. Every year more than 2 crore salary and other expenses are being incurred.