A new Karnataka Lokayukta Bill, modelled on the Lokpal Act, proposed by the Siddaramaiah government but shelved following opposition by the incumbent Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao, has been labelled as an attempt “to put the Karnataka Lokayukta in cold storage” by former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde.
The former Supreme Court judge, who has had the opportunity to review the draft of the new Lokayukta Bill being proposed by the Congress government, has stated that the proposed law would end up diluting the Karnataka Lokayukta in the name of strengthening it.
“They have not only diluted the powers of the Lokayukta but also have brought some other body called the vigilance commission which will take over activities,” Justice Hegde said.
The new law has completely done away with the Lokayukta’s powers to address “grievances of people arising out of the maladministration of the state”, he said.
“The new act only refers to the anti-corruption job to be done by the Lokayukta. The duties of the Lokayukta has been reduced by as much as 80 per cent under the new law. During my tenure as Lokayukta between 2005-11, majority of the work was addressing problems of people suffering due to maladministration,’’ he said.
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Under the proposed law, all investigations will be supervised by the vigilance commission and the Lokayukta institution has practically little say in the matter, he said.