The reports of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and Lokayukta or Commission of Inquiry are meant for “consumption” of the legislature and can neither be used by citizens to demand action against an official nor can be basis for a court to direct any action, the Delhi High Court said in a judgment on Thursday.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said it was conscious that such a situation may “belie” people’s hopes to have transparency in administration and probity in public life. But in view of statutory provisions as well as Supreme Court’s judgments, it has “no option”.
The bench made the observations while disposing of an NGO’s plea seeking setting aside of Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s order denying sanction to prosecute eight ex-MCD councillors who were allegedly caught on camera taking bribe for facilitating illegal constructions.
The L-G had rejected recommendations of Delhi Lokayukta against the eight ex-MCD councillors and the same had been challenged by NGO Common Cause. The Lokayukta also found that some of the municipal councillors had demonstrated a willingness to accept illegal gratification with a view to disbursing the same to other officials involved in perpetuating the illegalities.
“Thus, howsoever high the findings against a public functionary in the reports of the Lokayukta or CAG or the Commission of Inquiry set the hopes and expectations of the people that the erring public functionary will now be brought to book, the legal position is that the said findings are literally for the eyes and ears of Parliament/Legislature /Government only and do not enable or empower a citizen to demand action against the erring public functionary and do not permit the Court to on the basis thereof, direct any action, it said.
“We are conscious that the same may belie the aspirations of the citizenry to transparency in administration and probity in public life, but in the face of the clear statutory provisions and the interpretation by the Supreme Court of similar provisions of other statutes aforesaid, we have no option,” the bench added.
It also drew parallels between provisions of the Lokayukta Act and that of CAG Act and Commissions of Inquiry Act “only to demonstrate that there are other Constitutional offices or powerful bodies whose reports also are only for the consumption of the legislature”.
The court, however, directed that the special reports prepared by the competent authority against some of the former councillors and which have not yet been laid before Assembly be placed before the Assembly within six weeks.
The court also said under the Lokayukta Act, a decision of taking action on the basis of report of Lokayukta has been left to the competent authority or Assembly and no direction can be given by the court.
It also observed that though Delhi had prior to the 2013 Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act, established Lokayukta but the said the body “as noticed above does not have the same powers as the Lokpal under the 2013 Act”.
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