Guwahati, Jan. 6: If you are planning to move the Lokayukta office against a government official who is intentionally delaying clearance of your pension or not releasing money for the contract work you had done, you will end up being disappointed.
The office is lying headless as the post of Lokayukta has been vacant since 1995, the Upa-Lokayukta, Justice D. Biswas, retired on August 31 last year and Dispur is yet to appoint someone in his place. The result: activities of the office have come to a halt and 41 cases are pending.
Sources in the office told The Telegraph that though people were coming with complaints, they were unable to do anything except merely register the cases, as there was no Upa-Lokayukta.
“Normally, once a complainant registers a case, the Upa-Lokayukta takes up the matter and calls for documents and details from the department against which the complaint is lodged. If the official concerned is found guilty after investigation, recommendation is sent to the government for action. But since August 31, activities at our office have come to a halt,” a source said.
The Lokayukta office was set up in 1985 to investigate grievances against ministers, legislators and other public servants. Once a government official is found guilty, the Lokayukta or the Upa-Lokayukta asks the chief secretary and head of the department concerned to take action and in case of ministers and legislators, the office sends the recommendation to the chief minister.
If the government does not act on the recommendations, the office can send a special report to the governor, who can then send it for presentation in the state Assembly.
Since it started functioning in 1986, the office has come across 1,047 complaints out of which 1,006 have been disposed of so far, the source said. In 2012, it received 29 cases. “The aggrieved persons got relief in most of the cases but 41 cases are pending as we do not have anyone to head the office,” the source said.
The complaints registered with the office were mostly related to delay in clearing pension files of retired persons, corruption by government officials, violations of contract obligations and complaints by job-card holders under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, among others.
“We also received three complaints from Barak Valley, where government officials were found withdrawing money in the name of fake job-card holders,” the source said.
The Lokayukta office here is widely seen as a toothless tiger as it does not have the power to take up cases suo moto nor have its own investigation wing, as in Karnataka. But chief minister Tarun Gogoi had announced in 2011 that he would take measures to strengthen it in order to fight corruption in government departments.
Sources in Dispur said the process for appointment of a new Upa-Lokayukta was under way.
powers of the post
Who can file a complaint?
Anyone who is not a public servant can file complaints with the Lokayukta or
Against whom can complaints be lodged?
Barring the chief minister, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, members of higher and subordinate judiciary, chairman and members of APSC and officers and staff of the high court, complaints about allegations or grievances can be lodged against public servants, including state cabinet members and MLAs, and functionaries of panchayats, municipal boards, town committees, municipal corporations and public enterprises, among others
How to lodge a complaint?
Complaints have to be filed in the prescribed form The complainant’s own affidavit and relevant documents
have to be submitted
with the complaint
How is the investigation done?
The Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta may utilise the services of any officer or investigating agency of the state or central governments for investigating allegations