Monthly Archives: August 2015

No ‘respect’ for the Lokayukta: Gazette-‘Lokayuktanannu’, ‘Lokayuktana’, and ‘Lokayuktanige’, ‘Upa lokayuktanannu’,’Upa lokayuktana’ and ‘Upa Lokayuktanige’; Aug 19, 2015

 Amendment to Lokayukta act in gazette makes singular reference to top two posts
No ‘respect’ for the Lokayukta
Throughout the gazette, reference to the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayuta is in the singular, in usage like ‘Lokayuktanannu’, ‘Lokayuktana’, and ‘Lokayuktanige’, ‘Upa lokayuktanannu’,’Upa lokayuktana’ and ‘Upa Lokayuktanige’ (in Kannada).
…………….Lokayukta has been on a downward curve for some time.

And it seems the low opinion about the ombudsman is rubbing off on the government too, with the state gazette making a singular reference to both the posts – Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta – as against a respectful reference to the speaker, and the chairmen of the legislative assembly and legislative council. These references were made in the state gazette which published the amendment made to the Karnataka Lokayukta Act on the removal of Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta on August 14 after it got the Governor’s assent.

Throughout the gazette, reference to the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayuta is in the singular, in usage like ‘Lokayuktanannu’, ‘Lokayuktana’, and ‘Lokayuktanige’, ‘Upa lokayuktanannu’,’Upa lokayuktana’ and ‘Upa Lokayuktanige’ (in Kannada).

The singular reference to Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta is made over fifteen times in the gazette. The gazette uses more respectful words when it comes to the speaker, terming him as ‘Sabhadhyakshara’ and the chairman, referred to as ‘Sabhapathiyavara’.

Former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde too came down heavily on the usage. “I personally feel it is quite insulting to the position of Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta. When you are using Sabhadhyaksharu (to speaker) it is not correct to use a singular word in case of Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta,” Justice Hegde said.

He said the government should act immediately to set things right. “I think it should be corrected. I don’t know what the draughtsmen are doing there, the people who are drafting enactment. I don’t know how that can happen,” he said.

Complaints pile up at Lokayukta

The public is bearing the brunt of Lokayukta’s son Ashwin Yerabati’s arrest and Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao’s subsequent leave and further extension, as complaints of high importance which need the Lokayukta’s assent and decision have started piling up with no one to take decisions on petitions and reports.

Since July 27, when Justice Rao first applied for leave and Ashwin was detained by SIT, the number of pending complaints has risen to 102. All of these complaints pertain to top government officers and legislators. The institution has been handicapped as there is no one to decide on allotment of grievances/complaints for a preliminary inquiry or scrutiny to the judiciary wing’s ARE (additional registrar of enquiries) or other investigative agency. Furthermore, there is no one to pass orders – to take up an inquiry or not – based on scrutiny reports of AREs. No inquiry reports have been sent to the state government.

Rao has extended his leave till August 31 and sources in the Lokayukta have called for an alternative arrangement to prevent further piling up of files and hampering of administrative work.

Eighth arrest

In the eighth arrest in the scam, SIT arrested one Rajashekar on Tuesday. He is one of the accused in a case pertaining to complaint by businessman P N Krishna Murthy to SIT.

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Karnataka Lokayukta: As trust diminishes, institution comes to a standstill -August 17, 2015

Bengaluru, Aug 17: The Lokayukta in Karnataka was once a feared institution. People trusted the Lokayukta and would look up to the institution in case they had to battle corruption. The Lokayukta, on an average would receive 40 cases per day. However, all that has changed now with hardly 10 cases being registered before the Lokayukta each day. There are two things that can be made out of this drop in numbers- either corruption has subsided in Karnataka or the alleged corruption within the Lokayukta has reduced the faith the people once had in the institution.

The trust is collapsing:

In Karnataka, Lokayukta Under Scanner After Bribery Charges
http://www.ndtv.com › Karnataka
Jul 1, 2015
Bengaluru: The Karnataka state government has said a Special Investigative Team will probe the allegations
Bhaskar Rao’s Son Wanted Sonia Narang In Karnataka …
Jul 2, 2015 – Uploaded by Public TV | ಪಬ್ಲಿಕ್ ಟಿವಿ
SP Sonia Narang had received two phone calls from LokayuktaBhaskar Rao’s house when she took charge

Several people who once swore by the Lokyaukta today raise doubts over the integrity of the institution. Everyday we get to read in the papers about the corruption in the Lokayukta. In such a scenario how do we even trust it, asks Venkatesh, an advocate from Karnataka. The Lokyaukta was often equated to a tiger and officials and politicians feared the institution.

Today, all that has changed and people feel that if the institution itself is battling corruption charges, then how they can preach to others leave alone register cases. There has been a dramatic drop in the number of cases that are being filed before the Lokayukta. There was a time when at an average the Lokayukta would witness at least 30 to 40 different complainants wanting to lodge cases. Today it is hardly ten per day and that statistic tells a lot about the state of affairs in the Lokayukta.

Where is the Lokayukta?

YB-Rao-1

Syed-RIaz-1

Syed-RIaz-7 Syed-RIaz-2

There is a great deal of uncertainty in the Lokayukta. Justice Y Bhaskar Rao who was to return to Bengaluru and host the national flag at the Lokayukta’s office on August 15th has extended his leave. He was on long leave and was to return by August 15th, but now appears to have extended his leave until August 31.

The Special Investigating Team which is probing extortion and corruption allegations against some officials of the Lokayukta and also Justice Bhaskar Rao’s son, Ashwin Rao had prepared a questionnaire. The SIT constituted by the government of Karnataka had prepared a set of questions which they wanted Justice Rao to answer and the same was to be handed over to him this week.

However, there would be a delay now with Justice Rao extending his leave. An officer with the SIT informed OneIndia that they have no option now but to wait for him to return. There are key aspects in the questionnaire which only Justice Rao can answer.

The use of the conference hall and the phone line at his residence allegedly to make those extortion calls by those in his office or close to him are part of the questionnaire. Raids have stopped: All this controversy has literally brought work to a standstill. There are nearly 70 to 80 complaints that are pending before the Lokayukta.

Posted by: Vicky Nanjappa Published: Monday, August 17, 2015, 15:56 [IST]

Read more at: http://www.oneindia.com/bengaluru/karnataka-lokayukta-as-trust-diminishes-institution-comes-to-a-standstill-1840773.html

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Salve gets CJI Dattu to stay yesterday’s Guj HC order in land grant to judges [READ ORDER] 12 Aug 2015

PTI and others reported that a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu and justices PC Ghose and C Nagappanhas stayed yesterday’s Gujarat high court order serving notice on 27 of its current and former judges over land allotted to them by the state government in 2008.

According to PTI, Dattu said: “The high court was in mortal hurry. This should not have happened. Let the order be stayed. Let us see what can be done.”

Senior counsel Harish Salve appeared for one of the retired judges named, Justice Dhiren Arvind Mehta, questioning “the hurry shown by the high court in entertaining a letter by turning it into PIL over allotment of plots which was made several years ago”, according to PTI.

Senior counsel KK Venugopal is appearing for the Gujarat high court advocates association.

Today's SC orderToday’s SC order

http://www.legallyindia.com/Bar-Bench-Litigation/land-grant-to-guj-judges-salve-gets-cji-dattu-to-stay-yesterday-s-hc-order

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Gujarat High Court Judges Land Scam: SC Order asks Gujarat HC not to proceed against judges in land allotment case: 12 Aug 2015

In the meantime, further proceedings in W.P. (PIL) No. 163 of 2015 shall remain stayed, until further orders. The Registry is directed to communicate this order to the Gujarat High Court forthwith.

1 ITEM NO.31(Notice) COURT NO.1

SECTION IX S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Petitions for Special Leave to Appeal (C) Nos. 22913-22914/2015 (Against the impugned interim orders dated 10.08.2015 and 11.8.2015 passed by the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad in Writ Petition (PIL) No. 163 of 2015) JUSTICE DHIREN ARVIND MEHTA (RETD.) Petitioner(s) VERSUS THE REGISTRAR ADMINISTRATION HIGH Respondent(s) COURT OF GUJARAT & ORS. (With appln. for exemption from filing c/c of the impugned order)

Date : 12/08/2015

These petitions were called on for hearing today.

CORAM : HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PINAKI CHANDRA GHOSE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE

For Petitioner(s) Mr. Harish N. Salve, Sr. Adv. Mr. Mahesh Agarwal, Adv. Ms. Radhika Guatam, Adv. Mr. E.C. Agrawala, Adv.

For Respondent(s) Mr. Tushar Mehta, ASG rrs. 2 to 7 Ms. Hemantika Wahi, Adv. Guj. High Court Mr. K.K. Venugopal, Sr. Adv. Advocate Asson. Mr.Purvish Jitendra Malkan, Adv.

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following O R D E R

On the oral request of Shri Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel, the names of respondent Nos. 8 to 34 are deleted from the array of parties. Issue notice to respondents Nos. 1, 2 to 7 and 35. On the oral request of Shri K.K. Venugopal, learned senior counsel, the Gurjarat High Court 2 Advocates Association is impleaded as a party respondent. Amended memo of parties will be filed in two weeks’ time. Ms. Hemantika Wahi, and Shri Purvish Jitendra Malkan, accepts notice for respondent Nos. 2 to 7 and newly impleaded respondent-Gujarat High Court Advocates Association respectively. Counter affidavit(s) be filed in four weeks’ time. In the meantime, further proceedings in W.P. (PIL) No. 163 of 2015 shall remain stayed, until further orders. The Registry is directed to communicate this order to the Gujarat High Court forthwith.

[ Charanjeet Kaur ]                                                 [ Vinod Kulvi ]

A.R.-cum-P.S.                                                  Asstt. Registrar

http://sci.nic.in/FileServer/2015-08-12_1439370275.pdf

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Gujarat High Court Judges Land Scam: SC stays Gujarat HC proceedings against 27 judges: 12 Aug 2015

SC stays Gujarat HC proceedings against 27 judges

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Datu stayed the proceeding on a plea of a retired HC judge challenging Gujarat HC order.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today stayed proceeding against 27 retired and sitting judges initiated by Gujarat HC for allegedly getting plots in violation of law.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Datu stayed the proceeding on a plea of a retired HC judge challenging Gujarat HC order.

The case was mentioned before the bench in morning and the CJI agreed to grant an urgent hearing and posted it 12:40 PM. The bench took up the matter at noon and stayed the HC order after a brief hearing.

In an unprecedented move, the High Court had on Monday issued notices to sitting as well as former judges, including that of the Supreme Court, over allotment of residential plots to these judges by theGujarat government in Neetibaug Co-operative Housing Society in Sola area in Ahmadabad.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/SC-stays-Gujarat-HC-proceedings-against-27-judges/articleshow/48451068.cms

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Gujarat High Court Judges Land Scam: SC asks Gujarat HC not to proceed against judges in land allotment case: 12 Aug 2015

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked senior advocate Harish Salve, who mentioned the case on behalf of some person, to inform the HC not to proceed in the case.

The bench listed the case for hearing at 12:40 pm today, 12 Aug 2015

SC asks Gujarat HC not to proceed against judges in land allotment case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea challenging order of Gujarat high court which had decided to proceed againt 24 sitting and retired judges in land allotment case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked senior advocate Harish Salve, who mentioned the case on behalf of some person, to inform the HC not to proceed in the case.

The bench listed the case for hearing at 12:40 pm today.

In an unprecedented move, the high court had on Monday issued notices to sitting as well as former judges, including that of the Supreme Court, over allotment of residential plots to these judges by the Gujarat government in Neetibaug Co-operative Housing Society in Sola area here.

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Gujarat High Court Judges Land Scam: Guj HC refers judges’ plot allotment PIL to larger bench- 11 August 2015


    Gujarat High Court

The row over allotment of plots in a posh locality escalated today with the Gujarat High Court referring the matter to a larger bench after framing a set of questions related to its suo motu PIL on the issue.

In an unprecedented move, the High Court had on Monday issued notices to the 27 sitting as well as former judges, including that of the Supreme Court, over allotment of residential plots to these judges by the Gujarat government in Neetibaug Co-operative Housing Society in Sola area here.

The PIL was heard today by the division bench of acting Chief Justice V M Sahai and Justice Mohinder Pal based on letters written by two former High Court judges (K R Vyas and B J Sethna) which were converted into a public interest litigation(PIL).

The letters questioned the manner in which the plots were alloted, citing alleged breach of norms and lack of transparency.

While hearing the PIL today, the judges framed questions on which further hearing would take place by the larger bench.

Some of the key questions raised by the bench are – who among the judges are not alloted plot in the society? whether the allotment is done after the formation of the co-operative housing society and how can judges be given land on individual basis when a co-operative society is formed ?

Further, the bench asked whether any falsity is done in giving land at such premium places and whether any advertisement is given in media for the sale of such land ?

Other questions include – whether a judge alloted the plot in the society is having his own house within 8 kms periphery and if it amounts to breach of any law.

The bench also asked whether the sale deed of the society has incurred loss to the state ex-chequer or not ?.

During the hearing today, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi and several lawyers of the respondents raised strong objection to High Court’s stand on the matter. They pleaded that when the division bench has already decided to refer the matter to the larger bench, then there is no need to enlist these questions.

The advocates pleaded that let the larger bench decide the grounds on which further proceedings would take place, not on the grounds already provided by the existing bench.

They claimed that the larger bench will get influenced and develop a particular perception.

However, Sahai, who is retiring tomorrow, rejected their objections by saying that the larger bench, which will be formed in coming days, will have the powers to add or substract questions from this list and conduct hearing based on those grounds.

During the arguments, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi registered his protest by stating that this bench should not hear the matter as this bench is desirous and had been interested in having a plot at Neetibaug Cooperative Housing Society.

Yesterday, the court had issued notices to eight sitting judges of the Gujarat High Court, 15 former HC judges, one sitting judge of the Supreme Court, one retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Justice of Orissa HC and the Chief Justice of Bombay HC. All these sitting or former judges have got plots in the Society at concessional rates.

“Serious complaint has been made in the aforesaid letters (written by two former judges) and after deliberation with heavy heart, this suo motu PIL has been taken up. It involves judges of this court who are performing constitutional duties. This is an era of transparency where everything has to be before the public and no one can claim that they are above the law,” the HC order of yesterday had said.

– See more at: http://thefirstmail.in/news/news-details/77559-guj_hc_refers_judges_plot_allotment_pil_to_larger_bench#sthash.4S4qkZP8.dpuf

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