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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 31 May 2024 4.02 AM IST

No one to lead; Lokayukta trial in cases where high-ranking people are accused to come to a standstill

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the retirement of the Upalokayukta after the Lokayukta, trials on corruption cases against politicians, bureaucrats and people's representatives will come to a standstill. Justice Cyriac Joseph, who was Lokayukta, retired on March 26. Upalokayukta Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph will retire on the 28th. With this, the division bench of the Lokayukta will not exist anymore. The division bench used to hear cases of corruption and illegitimate assets against ministers, MLAs, IAS-IPS officers and political leaders.

Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid, another sub-lokayukta, will be the only one remaining in the Lokayukta. Single bench will hear only cases against government employees and officers other than civil servants. Lokayukta and Upalokayukta appointments are likely to be extended due to the Election Code of Conduct. Division Bench campings at Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur have also been abolished.

The Lokayukta is the only mechanism where complaints of corruption, favouritism and abuse of power can be sued without the permission of the government. Vigilance and Vigilance Courts need government permission to file cases.

1179 cases in Division Bench

As many as 1179 cases against politicians and bureaucrats are under trial by the Division Bench. Cases are filed against public servants including ministers, MLAs and people's representatives by Lokayukta if they do not provide asset and liability information or provide false information. Out of the pending cases, 489 are of this type. There are 371 cases remaining in the trial of the single bench.

Lokayukta Amendment Act

According to the amendment signed by the President, a High Court judge should be sufficient to become a Lokayukta, a Supreme Court judge or the Chief Justice of a High Court is not necessarily needed. The term of five years will continue but he will retire at the age of 70. The Upalokayukta should be a retired High Court judge.

Costless legal battle

Lokayukta is a mechanism for common people to complain about the corruption of public servants, officers and administrators and to fight legal battles without spending money. Quasi-judicial power of District Judge Registrar and Sub-Judge Deputy Registrar. Own investigation agency headed by IG. Corruption, maladministration, miscarriage of justice, abuse of office and lack of character by public servants can be investigated.

Expenditure per annum for the functioning of the office of Lokayukta: ₹4.08 crore

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