The circumstances leading to resignation of Justice Santosh Hegde clearly shows the Karnataka Government’s apathy to the issue of rampant corruption in the state. Year after year successive governments have always made the customary, rhetoric noises of rooting out corruption from the state. But the will to do so has always been suspected.
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Admired by his peers and idolised by his subordinates, Justice Santosh Hegde has stood tall owing to his undisputed integrity and unstinted commitment in bringing to book the guilty, however high or mighty they be.
Never the one to be cowed down by the powers that be, he has amply demonstrated that he is one who is guided by his conscience which is a priceless, rare virtue moreso in these times when the tentacles of corruption have grippled the entire state machinery.
A resignation being tendered by such a crusader comes as yet another rude shock although a certain degree of numbness has set in to the prevailing political buffoonery. It is soon replaced with an emotion of lost hope knowing that satanic powers have shown their might.
It is not too hard to imagine a scenario wherein the political powers will soon orchestrate a series of events to place a puppet in his place to ensure that their burgeoning bank accounts and land banks continue to proliferate.
The Lokayukta or the "People’s Agent" was set up with the objective of stemming this cancerous spread of corruption. But our law makers have craftily ensured that it’s just another barking watchdog that cannot bite.
Our politicians and their cronies have blatantly amassed unimaginable mounds of wealth unashamedly siphoning off the government’s coffers. This explains why people contesting elections spend several crores to supposedly serve the community. The hierarchy of corruption has permeated all levels and a regulated, parallel distribution of booty amongst themselves is the prevalent system in reality today. That the relief funds raised by milking the concerned citizens of the state towards aiding the flood affected and homeless, destitute victims are sickening.
The fear of a Lokayukta was perhaps the only check in the extent of pilferage else it would have been gobbled up in entirety with no accountability.
As to whether the Lokayukta should have statutory powers, the answer is an emphatic yes. Unless the Lokayukta functions as an autonomous parallel institution to the state government legislature and judiciary and has been empowered to punish the guilty themselves, it is only a farce. ⊕