Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court B A Khan rued the denigration of the Lokayukta institution in various states
While the state government by constituting the Anti Corruption Bureau has allegedly weakened the Lokayukta, a strong ombudsman institution, Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Chairperson Justice B A Khan noted that the survival of the Lokayukta institution depended on sincerity, integrity and transparency of the government.
Speaking on the ‘Role of Lokayukta in Good Governance’ at JSS Law College on Tuesday, B A Khan who was the former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, said, if at all the Lokayukta has to be effective then it should be an autonomous body. It must have financial autonomy, independent infrastructure and should be able to initiate its own prosecution. Also, its staff should be appointed by its chief justice.
Further, he explained how Lokayukta and other anti-corruption bodies were being degraded systematically in different states.
He said the governments not appointing the Lokayukta for years, stopping funding and appointment of staff shows how efforts are on to denigrade the role of the institution.
The political class, bureaucracy and the judiciary are not interested in the immense powers instituted with the Lokayukta, he added.
Quoting his native state of Jammu and Kashmir, he said the J&K
Accountability Commission which is modeled based on Karnataka Lokayukta was weakened through multiple amendments. Initially, it was all pervasive with jurisdiction of chief minister, universities, private institutions, co-operative bodies etc. Later, the bureaucracy was excluded from it. Bureaucracy is the root cause of corruption. If that is excluded then how can it be effective, he questioned.
At the interaction session, students raised questions about the corruption in anti-corruption body and whether Lokayukata was necessary while corruption was rampant in the Lokayukta institution too.
To a query, he said provision should be made to lodge complaints against the Lokayukta with Supreme Court three-judge bench.
Praises showered on Santosh Hegde
Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Chairperson Justice B A Khan lauded former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde citing as the only Lokayukta in the country which created history and whose action led to the fall of a government.
Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court B A Khan speaking on the ‘Role of Lokayukta in Good Governance’ at JSS Law College in the city on Tuesday