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  1. The alleged irregularities committed by the then Estate Officer Shripad Savakar in the works carried out at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) has now reached the office of the Karnataka Lokayukta. Theatre personality and editor of ‘Vidyavardhini’ magazine M.M. Dhalayat has filed a complaint before the Karnataka Lokayukta after having unsuccessfully tried to get the heads of the Public Works Department to act against the irregularities. He told presspersons here on Saturday that although even elected representatives had complained against Mr. Savarkar, nothing had happened for three years.Read more at; KIMS scam allegation reaches Lokayukta office - The Hindu
  2. I complained to Lokayukta related to panchayat housing facilities, I complained lost 3 months back, once they come and checked the some sample of unconstruction house, after till date there is no action, pls guide what I need to do next for it, I am frm karnataka Sent from RTI INDIA Mobile App
  3. The Lokayukta has refused to provide information about the enquiry into allegations that Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, had amassed illegal wealth. Senior Civil Judge and Deputy Registrar (Administration) of the Karnataka Lokayukta—the Public Information Officer (PIO) in this case—stated thus in response to a Right To Information (RTI) application: “The information sought by the applicant has been barred under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Right To Information Act, 2005, and therefore the information sought is denied.” Read at: Lokayukta refuses to share details of probe against Kharge
  4. The Haryana Lokayukta has asked the DGP to look into a complaint submitted by PP Kapoor, an RTI activist, regarding the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) plot allotment scam in Panipat. Read more at: Lokayukta tells DGP to probe RTI complaint
  5. From an email received from Venkatesh Nayak: Dear all, The media has reported today about the Rules notified by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for the filing of information and annual returns relating to assets and liabilities for all public servants covered by theLokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (1st attachment). What is good about this notification? 1) The notification of these Rules is a step forward from the statutory requirement under the Right to Information Act, 2005. Readers will remember that under Section 4(1(b)(x) of this law, every public authority is required to proactively disclose details of salary paid and the compensation package offered to every civil servant who is its employee. However there was no statutory compulsion on civil servants to publicly disclose information about their movable and immovable properties inherited or acquired. So several RTI users demanded the publication of this information under the RTI Act by filing formal requests. While some Information Commissions ordered disclosure of information contained in the immovable property returns submitted by civil servants every year, others rejected the request upholding the official's right to privacy. In at least one case, an RTI activist in southern India who sought such information about a senior level officer, had to be provided gunman security as the request snowballed into a public altercation between the two. The matter of disclosure of assets related information was settled, rather unsatisfactorily by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs Cen. Information Commr. and Anr. (2013) 1SCC 212. In that case the Apex Court ruled that unless the RTI applicant is able to demonstrate the public interest in disclosure, every public servant is entitled to confidentiality vis-a-vis his/her assets related details. The new Rules notified by the Government of India known as Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2014 (PSAR Rules) require every public servant to make a declaration attaching details of his/her assets as well as those of his/her spouse and dependent children to the competent authority within 30 days of taking an oath of making an affirmation for entering public office. Thereafter he/she must submit annual returns for every financial year by 31st July of the very next financial year. The Rules contain an Appendix setting forth the form of declaration and the manner of disclosure of both movable and immovable assets. The public servant must also disclose details of loans taken by self, spouse or dependent children. These declarations and submissions will be made to the competent authority in every public authority. These Rules render a portion of the judgement of the Apex Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande obsolete. Section 44(6) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act requires the competent authority which receives assets and liabilities related information of public servants to make them public through websites by the end of August every year. If this information is not available on the respective websites, a citizen may seek this information formally under the RTI Act from the public authority. 2) Members of Parliament submit their assets and liabilities details to the Chairpersons of the respective Houses under the respective Rules adopted in 2004 (2nd and 3rd attachment). However access to these statements was not easy as disclosure to strangers was left to the discretion of the Chairpersons. These details were not easily available under the RTI Act either. Now this discretionary power is done away with thanks to Section 44 of the Lokpal Act. This provision contains mandatory disclosure of assets and liabilities details of all public servants including that of MPs. This is another progressive step towards developing a culture of personal integrity for holders of elected offices. What is problematic about this notification? 1) Section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (Lokpal Act) covers three kinds of statutory disclosures- a) When a public servant enters his/her office upon being sworn by oath or affirmation. b) Serving public servants are required to make disclosures of their assets and liabilities within 30 days of the enforcement of this Act. c) Later on, all public servants must disclose details of their assets and liabilities as well as that of their spouse and dependent children every year. Rule 3 of the PSAR Rules states that the templates contained in Appendices I and II are to be used for filing all three kinds of returns listed above. However all the templates in Appendix II of the PSAR are titled "Return" or "Statement" to be filed on "First Appointment". While this will serve the purpose of the first statutory requirement of disclosure for new recruits, it is wrongly titled for the next two categories of officers who will make disclosures every year and upon the enforcement of this Act. This confusion in the title of the declaration and statements of movable and immovable properties must be removed immediately and appropriately titled forms must be released for each category. 2) The Lokpal Act covers all categories of public servants in Section 14. These include the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Members of Parliament, civil servants, employees and managers of public sector undertakings, universities, boards, trusts and societies or autonomous bodies wholly or partly financed by the Central Government and any organisation which receives foreign contribution of more than Rs. 10 lakh per year (USD 1,6950 where 1USD= INR59) under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. The Prime Minister is the competent authority for receiving declarations of assets and liabilities of the Union Ministers as per the Code of Conduct adopted first in 1964 and revised later in 1992 (4th attachment). This Code does not require the Prime Minister to disclose his/her assets to anybody. However, Section 44 read with Section 14 of the Lokpal Act requires the Prime Minister also to publicly declare his/her assets. So the Government will have to notify who the competent authority shall be to receive the PM's first declaration and subsequent annual returns under this Act and make them accessible to the public. Perhaps it should be the President as he alone is higher in the executive hierarchy to the PM. GoI must issue a clarification on this issue. It is not clear if the templates notified by the DoPT are intended for the use of 'public servants' other than 'civil servants' The larger issue will be securing compliance in the non-governmental organisations in the social and voluntary sector which receive foreign funding above Rs. 10 lakh per year. Their directors managers, and officers will also have to make disclosures of their assets and liabilities to the competent authority in such organisations. These will have to be made public on their respective websites. However, there is no clear cut mechanism in the Lokpal Act to ensure such compliance. 3) According to the text of the gazette notification of the Rules, it was to be published in Official Gazette on 14th July, 2014. However this set of Rules is not uploaded either in the Ordinary Gazette Section or the Extraordinary Gazette Section of the E-gazette website of GoI. I tried looking for it but could not find it. If readers are able to find it on the E-Gazette website, kindly let me know and I will issue a corrigendum. 4) These Rules do not come up under the 'What's New' Segment of DoPT's website either. Instead it is tucked away in the Circular Portal of GoI which is password protected. However readers may access it through Google by keying in the complete title of the Rules. The link is: http://ccis.nic.in/WriteReadData/CircularPortal/D2/D02ser/MX-M452N_20140716_172536.pdf The Government of India ought to have advertised these Rules in a big way as it is such a novel step forward in bringing about more accountability and transparency in the functioning of the bureaucracy. Integrity systems will be strengthened through such disclosures. However the quiet manner in which this Rule has been notified is perplexing to say the least. Nevertheless, all credit must go to the State Government of Bihar for taking such a step for its public servants in 2011. Starting with the Chief Minister and down to the clerical staff, every public servant was required to publicly declare their assets and liabilities annually. However this practice seems to have died out after two years because the assets related information on this website has not been updated since 2013. Readers may check this fact for themselves at: Asset Declaration Kindly circulate this email widely. Thanks Venkatesh NayakProgramme Coordinator Access to Information Programme Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative B-117, 1st Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave New Delhi- 110 017 LokSabha-MPsAssetsDecl-Rules-2004.pdf RajyaSabha-MPsAssetsDecl-Rules-2004.pdf Code of conduct for Ministers.pdf Lokpal-PublicServants-Assets&LiabilitiesRules-2014.pdf
  6. Centre Refuses Info on Lokpal, Cites Fiduciary Relationship The central government has declined to make public details of people who have applied for becoming chairperson and members of anti-corruption body Lokpal, saying the information is held by it in "fiduciary relationship". Replying to an RTI query, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said the process of making functional the Lokpal organisation is yet to be completed. "Your application pertain to the persons having fiduciary relationship with the DoPT. Moreover, the process of making the Lokpal organisation functional is yet to be completed. Hence, the information is not being furnished at this stage,' the DoPT said in reply to an RTI application filed by PTI. The DoPT was asked to provide the details of persons who have expressed their desire to be chairperson and members of the Lokpal. The names were also sought of persons chosen to be part of the search committee which is mandates to prepare a panel of persons who may be considered by the Prime Minister- led selection committee for appointment as chairperson and members of the Lokpal. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act provides for establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption charges against public functionaries. The DoPT has given an advertisement seeking applications from suitable persons for becoming chairperson and members of the Lokpal. It has got nominations from various individuals in that regard. The Centre had last month notified the new Lokpal search committee rules, giving it more freedom to recommend names for chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body. The earlier rules, which were formed by the previous UPA government, mandated the search committee to prepare a panel of persons to be considered by the selection committee for appointment as the chairperson and members of the Lokpal, from amongst the list of persons given by the DoPT. The government has also reduced the composition of the search committee to seven members from eight. The committee will now consist of at least seven persons of standing and having special knowledge in anti-corruption, public administration and vigilance among others, the rules said. As per the earlier norms, an eight-member search panel was tasked to draw up a panel of persons for consideration by the selection committee. The Lokpal selection committee has as members the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member. The UPA government had chosen eight persons for appointment as chairperson or members of the search committee during a meeting held on February 21, this year. Those selected then included Justice (retd) K T Thomas (Chairperson) and seven members -- Kaki Madhava Rao (former IAS officer), F S Nariman (legal luminary), Prof Meenakshi Gopinath (educationist), M L Kumawat (former Director General of Border Security Force), H K Dua (senior journalist and Rajya Sabha member), S Y Quraishi (former Chief Election Commissioner) and Prof Mrinal Miri (Rajya Sabha member). In a setback to the UPA government, Thomas and Nariman had later refused to be part of the search panel. Read More: Centre Refuses Info on Lokpal, Cites Fiduciary Relationship
  7. Lokpal may become a parking lot for retired babus NEW DELHI: Will the Lokpal become just another retirement home for ex-bureaucrats? Government rules say only serving and retired secretary-level officers to the government of India and their equivalent can become non-judicial members, ensuring that the fledgling Lokpal goes the way of the Central Information Commission and power and telecom regulators like CERC and Trai. Describing this as "unfortunate" and "illegitimate", activists under the aegis of the National Campaign for Protection of People's Right to Information (NCPRI) have written a protest letter to PM Manmohan Singh. The letter signed by activists Aruna Roy, Anjali Bharadwaj and Nikhil Dey among others said, "It is also an unfortunate and totally illegitimate tendency of bureaucrats to consider only bureaucrats and retired bureaucrats as having impeccable integrity and outstanding ability. Surely, many other persons in society could lay claim to such virtue." According to Section 10 (4) of the Lokpal rules on appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, non-judicial members must have "special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters in subjects like anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance or law and such persons must have held or must be holding the post of secretary to the government of India or any equivalent post thereto under the central government or a state government". The activists pointed out that this was in violation of Section 3 (3) (b) of the Lokpal Act which lays out the eligibility criteria for appointment of members of Lokpal. The section says a non-judicial member should be a "person of impeccable integrity and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management". Read more here: Lokpal may become a parking lot for retired babus - The Times of India
  8. DoPT has released the terms of reference for the "Search Committee" for Lokpal and has also called for applications for Lokpal and its members. The two notifications are attached to this post. InvitationOfApplication For Chairperson And Members Of Lokpal.pdf Lokpal Search Committee Rules.pdf
  9. remasunil

    Lok pal bill is a waste

    Allow me the luxury to be against the tide and the euphoria behind lok pal bill.To my mind, Loka Pal bill"s very contention is that all sarkari babus are corrupt, and they have to be scared into being straight and narrow!Any top flight business leader will tell you how wrong that theory can be.The GOI is an organisation, and has clearly set objectives and goals.This organisation impacts each and every one of us, and all of us are hence interested stake holders. The key to success is to HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE, not a law that prohibits people from taking decisions.As in any organisation some decisions will be right and some will be wrong.No business organisation became successful by being safe.It became successful because of brave decisions. So,all of us, lets try to work out a way to get the right people at the right places, and not waste time about a bill that will make babus retreat behind paperwork, AND NOT ENCOURAGE DECISION MAKING.Believe me, thats the last thing we all want. I have my own ideas on this, and wait for my next blog In the meanwhile if any one of you have comments, please let me know. THE KNOWLEDGE OF ONE IS LESS THAT THE WISDOM OF MANY,thats my mantra
  10. Dr.R.Balasubramaniam's Report on PDS submitted to the Government through the Lok Ayukta, Karnataka has revealed how the food grains handling mills, Food Corpn.of India godowns, Karnataka Food and civil Supplies Corporation officials, Ration Shops, middle men and a host of non-state actors are actually swindling people's quota of staple foods that actually belong to them. His Report has revealed that every month more than Rs.56 crores are being siphoned off through these hell holes of corrupt practices. The Report on PDS is with the Government of Karnataka. What action has been initiated is not known to the people who are languishing for want of reasonably prices rice, wheat, sugar and kerosene. What action Government of Karnataka? People need to know. Should people keep on filing RTI applications to know? Are the Government servants not receiving their salaries from the taxes being paid by people? Why there is laxity on the part of such babus/lower level officials to let the people know as to what is happening in Government public distribution system? Why there is no transparency and accountability? Please tell us.
  11. Govt seeks law ministry's advice on disclosing Lokpal audio recordings PTI | Sep 5, 2011, 05.17PM IST Times of India can be seen here : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-seeks-law-ministrys-advice-on-disclosing-Lokpal-audio-recordings/articleshow/9872474.cms NEW DELHI: The Government has sought the advice of the law ministry on making public the audio recordings of proceedings of the joint drafting comittee on the Lokpal Bill constituted after Anna Hazare's fast in April. The Committee comprising five members of team Anna and five cabinet ministers was formed to finalise the draft of the Lokpal Bill and audio recordings of the proceedings were made. "Joint drafting committee was constituted by notification of the ministry of law and justice wherein JDC was supposed to evolve its own procedure. "It may be further noted that the matter relating to RTI queries on audio-recordings of JDC has been referred to department of legal affairs in ministry of law and justice for clarification," an RTI response from department of personnel and training has said. Activist S C Agrawal had sought to know from the personnel department the audio recordings of the proceedings of the committee in the form of a compact CDs. The department said it has posted the details of proceedings in the form of minutes on its website but the audio-recordings were not available with it. The Committee constituted on April 10 included finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P Chidambaram, the then law minister Veerappa Moily, telecom and HRD minister Kapil Sibal and the then minority affairs minister, Salman Khursheed. The civil society members included Anna Hazare, Justice N Santosh Hedge, Shanti Bhushan, Prashan Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.
  12. Every Citizen will be a Lokpal by Simply Repealing of Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 By Surendera M. Bhanot "The Jan Lokpal or Lokpal" is a burning issue these days. The rti community cannot be remain unmoved by it. Here is a little suggestion in this regard The main reason for the corruption in the country is the presence of Section 19 in the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (PCA). Under Section 19, prior permission of the Government is necessary before launching prosecution of an accused. Government seldom gives permission and all culprits go scot-free, mainly because in most cases the corrupt practices were adopted to please the political bosses. The whole exercise of Lokpal Bill and the Jan Lokpal will be redundant, if only Section 19 of the PCA is repealed. Section 5 of the PCA provides – A special Judge may take cognizance of offences without the accused being committed to him for trial and, in trying the accused persons, shall follow the procedure prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for the trial of warrant cases by Magistrates [ss 5(1)]. And the person conducting a prosecution before a special Judge shall be deemed to be a public prosecutor.[ss5(3)]. So any complainant is deemed to be a "PUBLIC PROSECUTOR". In other words every person conducting a prosecution is a Lokpal or Lokayukt, by himself. This is what Dr. Sunramanium Swamy, Janata Party MP from Tamil Nadu had pleaded in his petition before Supreme Court (Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India read with Section 5 of the PCA) to allow him to prosecute A. Raja as the Government has failed to act. Only after receiving a Notice from the Supreme Court, did the government acted and Raja is behind the bars. His many petitions are pending and more skeletons will tumble out of cub-boards in coming months. Both, The Civil Society Jan Lokpal Bill as well as Government Lokpal Bill aims that the Lokpal will take cognizance of any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (PCA) and Section 19 will not be applicable in such cases. This means both the bills, in effect, are envisaging doing away with the requirement of Section 19 of the PCA. So the whole gamut of the Lokpal Bills lies in Section 19. A corrupt practice is not the official functions of a Government Officer or a Government Employee. He has to act within the oath he allegiance to the Constitution of India. He has to function with the utmost sincerity to serve the nation and the custodian of the Constitution of India – The People of India. If he functions beyond this, he is no more performing a Government Duty. Rather he is abusing the power and authority given to him and indulging in unlawful practices. For his such acts that are done while performing the lawful duty, are private affairs and abuse of the power and authority. No protection of Section 19, should otherwise available to him. So the Section 19 is a meaningless obstruction in the whole scheme of the PCA. Presence of Section 19 in the PCA is a great boon to the Corrupt Officers and Officials and a great tool for their Political Bosses to protect them. Section 5 and Section 19 are reproduced below for ready reference.
  13. Dear friends The news Anna Hazare on fast over Lokpal Bill issue. what are his views(Anna) and lokpal bill strengths and weakness known to the members be posted here, for the benefit of other members.
  14. An article by Vinita Singh at hindustantimes.com on 8 May 2011 One thing is clear from Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption — the people in this country are desperately seeking honest and upright leaders. The outpouring of support from all over the nation is a real demonstration of this need. And while it is the right thing to do — support a cause and follow the one who leads it — this entire episode has raised some very important questions on the quality of citizenship we hold. We appear to be very happy being led — sometimes by bad men and sometimes by good men. But always led. Not questioning, not investing time in understanding what exactly the leaders are asking us to do. A case in point is this campaign against corruption. While everyone instinctively responded to the demand to weed out corruption, very few people who were out on the streets had read the Jan Lokpal Bill being proposed by the campaign leaders. Further, as time went on, very few people were ready to listen to any arguments against the proposed Bill. If you are against the bill, you are with corruption and therefore unpatriotic. How is this different from any other time that masses of us have been led by our leaders to speak their minds and not ours? When will the Indian citizen really find his own mind and speak it? But this requires investing time and effort in our own citizenship. One step towards this is to understand our citizenship contract — the Constitution. This is the most essential document determining our rights and responsibilities. It is also the document that determines the basis on which laws can be made and enforced. It sets out the scope and functions of the State. For us to critically evaluate the Jan Lokpal Bill or any other proposal for law, we will need to understand the standard on which it will be tested. Without this understanding, we are just a chorus of excited voices. But once we have this knowledge, we can realise our power and stand up and be counted. Another step is to get engaged and take action on issues of public concern. The RTI Act has made it possible for us to get information from any public authority. Filing complaints and petitions are ways of making our grievances and opinions heard. Look around you — poor sanitation, potholes, laws being broken. Small issue, big issue, any issue that you feel concerned about — be informed and take action. And finally, reflect on the beliefs you hold as a citizen. Some of these beliefs are — I don’t matter, One person can’t make a difference, I am not responsible, Nothing will change. These are not beliefs that serve nation-building. And many of these beliefs simply do not hold water. Each citizen does matter and there is a deep connect between what you do and the system of governance. Your own acts of breaking the law and bribing have added to the cumulative decay of the entire system. But the flip side of this is that every act of yours to own up and strengthen the system will add to the generative and renewal process. In this context, it is important to recall the preamble of the Constitution which sets out the co-ownership of all people of this country. It starts with “We, the people of India…..” and ends with “hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.” These are powerful words — fixing ownership and responsibility of liberty, equality and justice on each citizen. Not on the leaders — political or otherwise — but on every citizen. It is also important at this time to recall the words of Ambedkar in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly in 1949. He cautioned all Indian citizens not to “lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with powers that enable him to subvert their institutions”.
  15. An article by Ashwini Kulkarni at Indian Express on 13 April, 2011 Is the Lokpal the next “krishnaavatar”? Is this the last and final stroke required to root out corruption? The conclusion that the state is unable to tackle corruption because it does not have a mechanism or an institution to do so, is unfounded. Kiran Bedi has said that the Lokpal will clean up corruption from our society in five years. This euphoria is unfounded too, because the devil lies in the details. There is no universal, singular, dramatic solution to the all-pervading problem of corruption. Acceptance of this truth is not pessimism, but an admission that we need to work harder. In a functional democracy, working on the nuts and bolts of all its institutions is necessary — but there is nothing romantic about that. In recent times, the political mobilisation against corruption started with the Right to Information, or RTI. The present mood of despair partially stems from the perceived ineffectiveness of the RTI. It is a logical consequence that Anna Hazare, who was instrumental in the making of the RTI and in keeping it intact, is now demanding a Lokpal bill. RTI activists always felt there was a vacuum in that after they got hold of documents which prima facie showed wrongdoing, they had little way of ensuring that some kind of enquiry was started against the wrongdoers. In spite of this, we have witnessed grave instances of RTI activists getting killed just for having the information — though they were unable to book anybody for the irregularity that they had unearthed. In addition to the experience of activists, the common man is frustrated with the corruption all around; be it Rs 20 demanded by a traffic policeman or gigantic scams like that surrounding 2G spectrum. Hence the growing support to the “India against Corruption” movement. But there are some steps that need to be taken first, before a Lokpal bill would be effective. For one, the RTI stands to be ineffective for two reasons. One is that the infrastructure needed — like the number of information commissioners and their offices — are not in place in a number of locations across the country. Two, and most importantly, the data required is just not available. The data that would constitute a minimum transparency requirement for any government programme are not defined. The collection of data about inputs, process and output indicators is ad hoc, sporadic and shabby, if it happens at all. This is serious. Regardless of how much the government spends, especially on welfare programmes and public goods and the like, any data is conspicuous only by its absence. And if there is some data being collected, it is not uniform across time and region. What those of us who work with the RTI thus wind up with is scattered information, spread across a lot of documents. To capture an irregularity in any function of the government is certainly not simple. The road is slippery because the road is ill-defined. That is why a clearly-defined set of procedures and criteria is important. Then the process needs to be followed, and data generated as it unfolds. Process data is especially relevant to understand if there is any misuse — even though procedural lapses do not necessarily mean that there is misuse or misappropriation. And so what we need to demand is instead good governance, defined as putting in place systems with clearly-defined rules, procedures and guidelines, and good data-capturing mechanisms, which collect data at all points of delivery. Most of this information must be in the public domain as soon as it gets generated. For example we have seen how the railways, electricity boards, public-sector banks and the like changed drastically after reengineering their processes. Transparency increased and the general frequency of irregularities decreased. While with 2G and the CWG, precisely the opposite happened. No one knew the procedure that was intended for allocation, or the one that was to be adopted. Information related to CWG purchases was not put in the public domain as a matter of course. So if we do not define what is “regular” how could we catch what could be “irregular”? A Lokpal bill, in whichever form it may come, it is unlikely to be effective if systems are not in place across state functions, systems designed for transparency and accountability. Given this we can catch irregularities, and have documents to prove each one, which could then be taken to the appropriate authority for redressal. Good governance is a prerequisite for an effective Lokpal or any such authority. Expecting a Lokpal bill to give you good governance is, in my opinion, putting the cart before the horse. This means civil society must engage with the government in several ways, at many levels, and on a sustained basis. Unfortunately, the prevailing mood may not find this proposal appealing. The writer is a Nashik-based agricultural economist
  16. Atul Patankar

    Corrupt babus are back at work

    As reported at deccanchronicle.com on Jul 28 2010 July 27: Several of the 106 BBMP, BDA, police and KPTCL officers caught by the Lokayukta for corruption over the last four years are back at work in various postings and are drawing their salary as usual as the cases against them have still not gone to trial. According to information obtained by Deccan Chronicle through the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the Lokayukta raided and trapped 54 police officers, 35 BBMP officials, 12 KPTCL and five BDA officers in various acts of corruption over the last four years. In the years since at least one officer has died, some officers have retired and others are back on duty. Many of these cases are likely to come up for trial only a year from now as there is a backlog to deal with, according to sources. When contacted Lokayukta Justice N. Santhosh Hegde said he was afraid many of the officers could escape conviction given the delay in bringing their cases to trial. Witnesses could turn hostile in the years between, according to him. He also warned that if tainted officers were not punished despite the raids, the fear factor would fade away with time. Asked if the Lokayukta had requested the government to expedite the investigation into the cases against the officers concerned and their trials, Justice Hegde said this sort of a situation was not exclusive to Karnataka, but was common all over the country. The state government had, however, assured that pending trial, the officials would not be posted to the same positions they were holding when raided, he added.
  17. Atul Patankar

    Double bill features a Kafkaesque comedy

    As reported by Sandeep Moudgal at deccanherald.com on June 14, 2010 An application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by S R Venkatram, a resident of Vishveshwarapuram (Ward 50), has revealed that the BBMP Major Roads division has sanctioned Rs 99 lakh for maintenance of Storm Water Drains (SWD) and asphalting of roads, even as the same work was earlier sanctioned for Rs 15 lakh by the Palike in 2006. The Major Roads division sanctioned the project just a month after the Lokayukta pulled up three Palike officials for dereliction of duty and wasting money in issuing the maintenance work of SWDs in Ward 50 for Rs 15 lakh. According to the documents in possession of Deccan Herald, the Basavangudi division had sanctioned Rs 15 lakh for pre-cast concrete solid blocks, RCC pre-cast cover drain slabs, kerb stones and other work for S Kariappa Road and B P Wadia Roads in the ward. On June 29, 2009, the Lokayukta recommended to the State Government to initiate disciplinary action against Assistant Engineer Honnegowda, Assistant Executive Engineer Mohan Das and the then Executive Engineer, Krishna for dereliction of duty and misconduct. According to the Lokayukta, the BBMP had made a faulty estimate of Rs 15 lakh and an amount of Rs 3.55 lakh was left unused for the project. The Lokayukta noted that BBMP carried out works worth Rs 6.55 lakh alone along with additional projects amounting to Rs 9.93 lakh without proper authorization. However, the RTI applicant notes that not a single kerb stone was changed or SWD maintenance was done during the period. “Having lived over there for the better part of my life, I can show that not a single work was undertaken under the sanctioned amount,” said Venkatram. What is shocking is that just a month after the Lokayukta observation, the Major Roads Division sanctioned Rs 99 lakh for the same project. The total project cost was estimated to be Rs 1.09 crore and was approved on July 17, 2009 by the Executive Engineer (Major Roads-South). The contract was awarded to M Srinivas Reddy under the head, “Rehabilitation and strengthening of Armugum Circle, S Kariappa Road and B P Wadia Road from Patalamma Temple Street to K R Road,” on July 20, 2009. “A massive scam seems to be brewing within BBMP when you compare the project cost. Whose money are they spending,” Venkatram wanted to know.
  18. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 08 April 2009 BELGAUM: The government has spent approximately four times money for the assembly session held in January than the amount spent for the previous one held in September 2006. According to the information obtained under RTI Act by activist Bhimappa Gadad, the money spent for September and January sessions stand at Rs 2.95 crore and Rs 12.34 crore, respectively. Disclosing the figures before reporters here on Sunday, Gadad said the government had spent Rs 91.86 lakh for providing meals to around 1,000 persons, including members of both the Houses, officials, staff and media personnel, during the nine-day session in January. "Certainly, it does not cover the food expenses of ministers and other leaders," he added. For providing accomodatoin to legislators at JN Medical College, the government had purchased beds and bedsheets worth Rs 30 lakh and spent Rs 2.85 lakh on napkins alone. But there is no information on the beddings purchased for the 2006 session. Expenditure for other facilities are as follows: Rs 61.84 lakh to provide accommodation to officials and media personnel, Rs 1 crore for providing food to police personnel; Rs 1.78 crore as rent to the venues of session, Rs 298.50 lakh to provide infrastructure on JNMC premises and the city. Gadad said he will complain to the Lok Ayukta against the district administration for "allegedly" misappropriating Rs 5 crore while holding the session. Source: 'Money flowed like water for Belgaum session' - Hubli - Cities - The Times of India
  19. Atul Patankar

    Doubts arise over relevance of Lokayukta

    As reported by Viju B of TNN at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on January 22, 2009 MUMBAI: Questions are being raised about the relevance of the Lokayukta, the agency that probes into complaints against erring government officials and ministers. Data for five years show that the state Lokayukta has disposed of over 95% complaints without any hearing. The government agency received 13,523 complaints (till October 31 last year) while 12,999 complaints were disposed of without hearing in the last five years. What is more shocking is that the Lokayukta heard only 59 cases till October-end last year, just over one case every week. The agency registered 2,781 complaints till October-end, while 2,465 were disposed of without hearing. Citizens are appalled at the dismal performance of the quasi-judicial agency, which was set up in 1971 to look into complaints made by the public against high-ranking officials and ministers. "I filed five complaints with the Lokayukta and all of them were dismissed,'' said Aziz Amreliwala, a Marol resident. His complaints pertained to alleged corruption at the ward office level. "But all my complaints were disposed of summarily,'' he said. The Lokayukta Act states that while the agency can pass directives, it does not have the power to implement them. However, it can go to court if its orders are not acted upon by the state. "It can act as a good watchdog if there is a will,'' said former IPS officer Y P Singh. The Lokayukta incurs an expenditure of Rs 1 crore to the state exchequer towards salaries for its 85 employees. But activists are now questioning the relevance of such an institution in view of its failure to probe complaints. TOI spoke to a cross-section of citizens, all of whom said their complaints were disposed of without any hearing. "It is a shame that this agency has not done justice to its existence,'' said Dr Ashok T Wagle, who had filed an RTI query on this issue. The 76-year-old Bandra resident said is was only after the Lokayukta disposed of a complaint without looking into its merits that he decided to file an RTI plea. "The query revealed the abysmal performance of the agency and its ineffectiveness in solving the problems of the common man when they have to deal with corrupt officials in the government,'' said Dr Wagle. Senior officials with the Lokayukta said though they disposed of thousands of complaints without hearing, they did go through the cases in detail. "We have delegated powers to the staff who look into the complaints. If they are of a serious nature, we put them forward to the government,'' said the official. He said most complaints did not come under the ambit of the act and were personal in nature. "The 2005 data show that we solved around 80% of the grievances that we received,'' said the official. But the officials also admit that the Lokayukta needs more teeth and can be more effective if agencies take cognisance of their reports. Source : Doubts arise over relevance of Lokayukta-Mumbai-Cities-The Times of India
  20. No need to make illegal mining report public as reported in Express Buz, Express News Service 31 Dec 2008 BANGALORE: The High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the state government to make public the Lokayukta report on illegal mining which was submitted to the government on December 18. The vacation judge bench comprising Justice K Bhakthavasala and Justice K Srinivasa Gowda dismissed the petition on the ground that there was no merit in it. “The contention of the petition is not acceptable. There is no law that could direct the government to publish a report without studying it. It is the duty of the administration to decide whether to make the report public or not,” the court observed. The court also observed that the petitioner had the liberty to approach the government under the Right to Information Act to access the report. The petition was filed by city-based advocate S Vasudevan, questioning the government’s action of appointing a three-member committee of IAS officers to oversee the Lokayukta report. Vasudevan had submitted that as the Lokayukta had indicted 12 IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers in the report for abetting the illegal mining, the committee could tamper with the report and that further inquiry on the report was illegal. No need to make illegal mining report public=
  21. Fratricidal wars in Madhya Pradesh, not just among politicians Madhya Pradesh is presenting a strange spectacle these days, with almost everyone arraigned against everyone else. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are understandably hostile against each other. But that is the case even within both the BJP and the Congress, with leaders in both parties fighting fratricidal wars. The Lokayukta and the Chief Information Commissioner of the State are at loggerheads with each other while the Lokayukta and the Assembly Speaker are having their own separate bout. Chief Information Commissioner P.P.Tiwari slammed Lokayukta Ripusudan Dayal for trying to influence his decision in a Right to Information case and said that Dayal's action amounted to a contempt of court for which he (Tiwari) might proceed against the former Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court. Dayal's first reaction was to do a bit of loud thinking, in the presence of a selected group of media persons, about the Chief Information Commissioner. His take was that the CIC was playing into the hands of the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government, which was feeling threatened by the investigations undertaken by the Lokayukta organisation. Later, the Lokayukta served on Tiwari a notice for contempt of court, accusing the latter of forging his (Dayal's) signature on an order sheet which, the notice says, amounts to scandalising the institution of the Lokayukta. Meanwhile, the Lokayukta has moved a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court against a government notification, issued at the instance of the State Information Commission, bringing the Lokayukta organisation under the purview of the Right to Information Act. Some applicants had sought, invoking the RTI, information about the antecedents of an investigation officer of the Lokayukta organisation as well as the TA/DA received by Dayal. Appeals against the refusal of the Information Officers (under the RTI Act) to part with the information sought were pending with the State Information Commission which seemed to be the bone of contention between the two constitutional authorities. Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani has issued notice of a breach of privilege of the Assembly to Lokayukta Dayal and five officials of the Lokayukta organisation. The Lokayukta had earlier taken up for investigation a two-year-old complaint alleging bungling in some construction works on the premises of the Assembly building and had issued notices to some functionaries of the Assembly secretariat. Four MLAs, three of the BJP and one of the JD (U), submitted to the Speaker notices of a breach of privilege against Ripusudan Dayal and others on the plea that the Lokayukta had infringed upon the privilege of the House by starting an investigation into the construction works on the Assembly premises and issuing notices to the Assembly secretariat officials without taking prior permission from the Speaker. "It is an unforgivable crime that an agency, created by the Assembly, should start investigation of the works on the Assembly premises itself", says Lavkesh Singh, one of the three BJP MLAs in his notice. Most of the Congress leaders had for long been associated with the cooperative sector which is now considered "corruption sector". Minister of Cooperatives Gopal Bhargava ordered inquiries against those (Congress leaders) who had allegedly misused cooperative societies for increasing their personal assets. Some of the inquiries have been completed. Bhargava is not, however, unduly interested in prosecuting the culprits and sending them to jail. He seems to be having in mind, another, more down-to-earth, use of these inquiry reports. Bhargava was, for instance, involved in an unsavoury controversy for presiding over a function where "raee" dance was held. Fratricidal wars in Madhya Pradesh, not just among politicians | N.D.Sharma | Indiainteracts.com
  22. Lokayukta wants property buyers vigilant By Team Mangalorean Photographs: RK Bhat MANGALORE, August 16, 2007: The Lokayukta of Karnataka N. Santhosh Hegde has called on the buyers of the property to make extensive use of the Right to Information act (RTI) to keep their investment in land and apartments secure from unscrupulous practices that the builders usually involve in. Taking part in an interactive session on the theme 'The National Building Code and Mangalore city' organised by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday he said, the people should induce legislations like `title insurance and quality insurance' to protect themselves in the deceptive market of land and apartments. During his talk Mr. Hegde said dwelling units were the most important for the common people who invest their lifetime savings and the unscrupulous builders and developers cannot be allowed to take them for a ride. All the housing areas should be so developed that there would be no compromise on quality and safety and every buyer, builder, promoter and the licencing authority should be honest about their project right from the conception stage. He cautioned that usually the greedy builders put all the stake holders into trouble and they should be controlled legally if they do not abide by the approved plan. The approved plan by the licencing authority could be got under the RTI he added. The National Building Code (NBC) has to be seriously adhered scrupulously while making zoning norms and while amending the Comprehensive Development Plans in all the cities and though the building laws are done in accordance with the state policies the NBC regulations will have to be followed at all times, he asserted. Mr. Hegde told that the NBC has been drafted with an eye for the future developmental designs and planners should take into the account the recommendations of the NBC if they are going to construct buildings for the future. He said planning of a city that does not allow even the emergency vehicles to ply without obstruction was no planning at all. Since the introduction of the Right to Information act and the transparency act, the buyers and other stake holders were able to seek and get information on every aspect of the building and these legal facilities should be made use by everybody who wishes to buy property he appealed. Later answering queries of the media and press persons Mr. Hegde told that there are number of buildings in Mangalore and about 600-700 buildings and Multi story complexes in Bangalore that have violated the rules and regularising them would be a crime. Mr. Hegde during his interaction said it was necessary to make the builder accountable for his actions and every official in the licencing authority should be held responsible for not keeping up with the rules when issuing licences. Earlier, President of the KCCI John Prasad Menezes presented a memorandum to the Lokayukta and vice president Kumble Narsimha Prabhu introduced Mr. Hegde. Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World!
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