In 2010,the then sitting Lokayuktas of 19 states in India drafted a Model Lokayukta Bill as a proposal to strengthen the institution. In 2012,the 11th All India Lokayuktas Conference suggested 10 measures to increase the effectiveness.
According to sources,the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had recently approached retired Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin for suggestions and comments on the proposed new Lokayukta Act for Delhi,on similar lines as the Jan Lokpal,and Sarin asked the party to look at the model Bill and the suggestions of the conference.
When asked to comment,AAP minister and advocate Somnath Bharti said while the draft being made by the AAP would not be on similar lines as the model draft,almost all of the measures suggested by the conference had been incorporated by the AAP.
Speaking to Newsline,Justice Sarin said one of the major reasons why the Lokayukta institution has been made ineffective is because the competent authorities do not accept their recommendations. In his tenure as the Delhi Lokayukta,Sarin said he had to face this dismissive attitude in many cases where his findings were dismissed by the competent authority.
He also suggested that the function of the competent authority,usually the Lt-Governor or the President,had to be isolated from his executive functions so that decisions on the Lokayukta recommendations could be taken on the discretion of the competent authority. According to Sarin,most of the orders of the Lokayukta are sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.
The suggestions arising out of last years conference included features such as bringing senior civil servants under the Lokayuktas jurisdiction,mechanism to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Lokayukta,financial and administrative autonomy of the institution,and powers of investigation,search and seizure,among others. The recommendations had also said that the competent authority should take a decision on the basis of the comprehensive report of the Lokayukta itself and not conduct a further inquiry.
In fact,the Jan Lokpal and the recently passed Lokpal Bill have certain provisions that expand the scope of the institution further than what is proposed by the model Bill. The Jan Lokpal and the recently passed central Act envisage giving power to the Lokpal to directly initiate prosecution in a special court,and provide for a prosecution wing to conduct the prosecution. The model draft,on the other hand,had continued the system of recommendations,while prescribing that the competent authority would have to give an explanatory memorandum to the legislature for failing to take action.
According to Sarin,an effective remedy to ensure the success of a Lokayukta would be judicial scrutiny. The Jan Lokpal and the central Act,both link the Lokpal directly with the special courts. The bureaucracy is also covered under the Lokpal under the two bills.
Since the AAP has declared that the new Lokayukta Act would be on similar lines as the Jan Lokpal,it seems that many of the suggestions given by the conference would now be made effective.