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Doubts arise over relevance of Lokayukta

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Atul Patankar

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

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Atul Patankar

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

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colnrkurup

The Lok Ayukta is a very powerful organisation. But its performance/efficiency varies from State to State. In Kerala the Lok Ayukta perform reasonable well despite their lack of teeth.

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colnrkurup

The Lok Ayukta is a very powerful organisation. But its performance/efficiency varies from State to State. In Kerala the Lok Ayukta perform reasonable well despite their lack of teeth.

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