We all often read in newspapers about various raids that the Lokayukta of Karnataka does on various officers and catches them red-handed taking bribes. And most of us wonder how do they get to know of this. If one of us comes across an officer who readily accepts bribes, how do we tell the Lokayukata about that? Where do we complain? Will the Lokayukta consider the small complaints that do not involve a one crore-rupees scam?
Well, the answer is yes. And filing a complaint is not as daunting as it may seem, considering our collective experience of access to government offices.
To file a complaint with the Lokayukta, the first and foremost thing a citizen needs to remember is that the Lokayukta can catch only public servants. This includes all the babus that do not push your file to the next level without chai pani (as it is called) and the ones who show attitude till you show them money.
Now, to get these people caught red-handed, to teach them a lesson, you need to download two forms (Form 1 and 2) from the Lokayukta website (http://lokayukta.kar.nic.in/index.asp). You need to fill in details like your name, contact details, the reason for complaint and other such information. You also need to attach two affidavits to the forms which are statements of notification that you are complaining against an officer and attaching the documents to prove your case. These affidavits will be examined by the judicial officers at the Lokayukta office before the case is taken up.
The form and the affidavits should be submitted to the Registrar at the Lokayukta office, at M S Building on Ambedkar Veedhi, near Vidhana Saudha.
With that you need to enclose documents supporting your claim against the particular officer. All these documents and the forms should then be sent to the Lokayukta office either by post or submitted online. Note also that the Lokayukta is bound to disclose the identity of the complainant to the opposite party, in accordance with the law. The identity of the complaint cannot be kept hidden. "But this clause has never hampered the inflow of complaints to us", says the Lokayukta himself.
You can also file a complaint through the Right to Information Act 2005, if you want to probe and know more about a suspected officer. The RTI can either be filed directly without going through the complaint format or can be done after filing the complaint. Of course, you can complain against an officer only if he has abused his position for gain or favour for himself or for any other person, or has used his power to harm someone. You can also complain if the officer has corrupt motives while serving the public and also if he is guilty of favouritism, nepotism or lack of integrity in his capacity as a public servant.
"The Lokayukta is not just looking into big scams including big officers and lots of money. We are equally interested in catching the public servants who are exploiting the masses at small levels," says Justice Santosh Hegde, Lokayukta. Hegde was a Justice at the Supreme Court of India before he took up the position to lead Karnataka’s anti-corruption watchdog. He explains by stating an example of a tailor from Bagalkot who once came to the Lokayukta office with his infant.
The child did not have fully developed intestine when born. He wanted to get his baby treated in the government hospital of Bagalkot, where the doctor asked for Rs.80,000 from him, says Hegde. Not being in a state to pay that amount nor in a state to fight with the doctor for this injustice, he kept the infant in the Lokayukta office pleading for help.
To his relief and surprise, the Lokayukta approached all the institutions that would help this man. The Manipal Hospital, Bangalore later did the infant’s operation with Rs.8000. This amount was paid totally by the Lokayukta. "After the successful recovery of the child, the government doctor who asked for a huge sum at the first place was taken into account and disciplinary action was taken against him. The tailor visits us till today to tell that his baby is healthy now," narrates Hegde with smile.
Multi Store Building,
Dr. Ambedkar Vedhi,
Bangalore, Karnataka 500001
While the big scams make for front page news, not all of these cases get coverage. But they also contribute equally in getting relief for citizens and action against wrong-doers.
So the next time you feel you are in the right and an official is pressurising you for a bribe, you know there is an option – the LokAyukta.
The information about the complaint-filing process was provided by K B Sangannanvar, State Public Information officer and Deputy Registrar (Admin). Ph: 22353823. ⊕
I had an occassion to meet Justice Santhosh Hegde during our meeting of the Institution of valuers. He has lot of ideas to make Karnataka a model state with corruptin free governance. But corrupt politicians and bureaucrats obstruct for their selfish interests. In fact if corruption is seriously attacked and good habits are taught to poor people to be free from liquor and lottery, poverty gets reduced. No amount of pampering by reservation, dividing the country as minority, majority, SC/ST, etc can help upliftment of poor. But it is only through good education, good habits and sense of loyalty to the country.
B S Ganesh, firstname.lastname@example.org
70/9 Basappa Layout, Hanumanthnagar, BANGALORE 560 019
Lok Ayukta is doing good work.But the followup is weak and it is not his fault.We have to evolve ways to keep the taint alive, the taint of bribe taking officers and their splendid assets.Public opinion must be built up, and this should be done within the parameters of law.Perhaps spoofs and the like may help.