An Anti-Dote for Corruption in Public Life

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It is customary to talk of corruption in public life but the common man does not realise that he can also play a part in containing it. An alert and vigilant citizen who takes interest in public affairs and speaks up against any act of corruption or maladministration contributes towards making governance, clean and efficient. For redressal of individual grievances, the Govt. has taken various initiatives including giving Right of Information to the public and setting up of Public Grievance Forum. However, where the grievance or complaint emanates from corruption, maladministration, misuse or abuse of position, non observance of norms of integrity and conduct by high public functionary, then it is important that for redressal of his grievances, a common man does not have go to those very public functionaries or their subordinates, who are the perpetrators of the said wrongs. In Delhi, to deal with such complaints or grievances institution of Lokayukta has been set up which is in operation for the last 10 years. Many people may not know about this institution. Here is a glimpse into the role and functions of the Lokayukta.

1.What is Lokayukta?

Lokayukta or "Ombudsman" is the "watch dog" of the administration or the protector of the "common man". This institution is intended to eradicate the vice of corruption, favoritism, nepotism, abuse/misuse of power and to maintain probity, transparency and improve efficiency in public administration.

2.Does Delhi have a Lokayukta?

Yes, the Lokayukta has been operational in Delhi for about a decade. The institution of Lokayukta was set up in 1997 under the Delhi Lokayukta and Upalokayukta Act, 1995.

3.Who is the present Lokayukta?

The present Lokayukta of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, HMJ Harish Chandra Mishra.

4.Jurisdiction of Lokayukta

The Lokayukta can enquire into the allegation against public functionaries which include Chief Minister, Ministers, Member of Legislative Assembly, Members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Chairman, Vice Chairman or Managing Director or a member of Board of Directors in respect of an Apex Cooperative Society or any Cooperative Society constituted or registered under the Delhi Cooperative Societies Act, 1972, a Govt. Company, a Corporation under the control of the Government, any Commission or Body set up by the Govt., a local authority established under any law in relation to Delhi except DDA. The allegations can relate to corruption, favouritism, nepotism, lack of faithfulness, abuse or misuse of position, possession of assets disproportionate to known sources of income, failure to act in accordance with norms of integrity and conduct and maladministration etc.. The Lokayukta is also invested with the powers to make suggestions for improvement in the practice or procedure which could afford an opportunity for corruption or maladministration.

5.Who may approach Lokayukta?

Any person, irrespective of the fact whether he is individually affected or not, can make a complaint in the prescribed manner to the Lokayukta, giving specific details of the case supported by relevant documents and accompanied by an affidavit in support of the allegations in the complaint and a fee of Rs.500/- in the form of judicial stamp. He can participate in the proceedings before the Lokayukta. Even if a person does not have wish to participate in the proceedings or he is not individually affected, he can give information to the Lokayukta about corruption, abuse or misuse of power, favoritism and nepotism etc. by the public functionary in writing or otherwise. The Lokayukta has also power to initiate an inquiry on information received or suo motto.

6.What is the procedure followed by the Lokayukta?

A complaint or the information received in the office of Lokayukta is first scrutinized to ascertain as to whether the same falls within the jurisdiction of Lokayukta or not? If it is covered under the Act, an inquiry is commenced. The complainant and the concerned public functionary can participate in the inquiry and present their case. The Lokayukta is empowered to summon any person or document including public record. He can also examine the witnesses on oath and issue commission for examination of witnesses. Lokayukta can also utilize the services of any officer or investigative agency of Govt. or any other person/agency. On the basis of inquiry, Lokayukta upon completion of inquiry, in case the allegations are established, makes a report to the Competent Authority i.e. President, Lt.Governor or Chief Secretary. The Competent Authority is required to intimate within three months, the action taken or proposed to the taken.

7.Where is Lokayukta's Office ?

G-Block, Vikas Bhawan,

I.P.Estate, New Delhi

Ph: 23370570, 23370865, 23370561, 23370634

Fax: 23378155

Email: lokayukta[dot]delhi[at]nic[dot]in