Lokayukta to defend order to Sheila govt on low-floor buses

After the High Court put a stay on the order of Delhi Lokayukta Justice M M Sarin asking the Sheila Dikshit Government to produce documents pertaining to the purchase of 625 non-AC,low-floor and CNG buses...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 7, 2009 12:27:12 am

After the High Court put a stay on the order of Delhi Lokayukta Justice M M Sarin asking the Sheila Dikshit Government to produce documents pertaining to the purchase of 625 non-AC,low-floor and CNG buses,it is learnt that his office will be defending the order. The next hearing of the case is on February 11 and the Lokayukta’s office is now scouting for an advocate.

Lokayukta Sarin had been hearing the complaint filed by former BJP MLA Vijay Jolly against the government’s purchase of 625 low-floor buses. He had alleged that the Congress government had purchased the low-floor buses “at an inflated price” citing that the Tamil Nadu Government had purchased the same buses for Rs 25 lakh less.

The Lokayukta had sent a notice on 17 November last year to the Dehi government requiring it to produce the records relating to the issuance of tenders for the purchase of 625 non-AC low-floor and CNG buses,including the records documenting the decision-making process. The government failed to do so despite several hearings.

The government counsel informed the Lokayukta that they need not produce records in reply to this complaint,while they would produce the records in case separate suo motu proceedings are taken up by the Lokayukta.

The Delhi Lokayukta and Upalokayukta Act 1995 enables the Lokayukta to make suggestions for improvement. The Lokayukta quoting this act had asked the government,“Whether the legitimate requirement and aspirations and interests of sections such as handicapped person can also be met by having a mix of semi-low floor buses and low- floor buses.”

On February 3,the Lokayukta passed an order that mentioned “Non-compliance of the directions for the production of records tantamounts to defiance and non-cooperation by an administration professed to be committed to efficiency and transparency. It does not certainly augur well.”

The High Court put a stay on the Lokayukta’s order within 24 hours criticising the agency of conducting a “roving inquiry” based on “surmises and conjectures.”

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