Delhi LG approves laying of Lokayukta reports, flags ‘inordinate delay’ of three years

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, V.K. Saxena, on Friday approved the laying of Lokayukta reports before the Delhi Assembly, which reached the L-G office after a delay of three years.

The development came after the L-G office received the 16th and 17th annual consolidated reports of the Lokayukta of Delhi pertaining to 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively, after a delay of three years from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

In his approval note, the L-G has flagged the “inordinate delay” of three years apart from the fact that instead of laying down these reports before the Assembly, so that the suggestions and recommendations made by the Lokayukta could be debated for further strengthening the system of Lokayukta in Delhi, the delay has deprived the Assembly from taking cognisance of these important reports which deal with matters of corruption, abuse or misuse of position with regard to public functionaries.

Saxena has written to Kejriwal, “I would like to advise that the concerned minister may please be guided appropriately to dispose such important matters of public interest within a reasonable period, so that the statutory purpose of laying them before the Legislative Assembly is not defeated and Delhi is not deprived of its wisdom.”

The said reports highlighting various debilitating constraints being faced by the Lokayukta in terms of its ‘independence’, ‘lack of power’, ‘compromised financial autonomy’, ‘non-availability of any machinery for conducting investigations’, ‘limited jurisdiction’, among others, were first submitted to then L-G by the Lokayukta on October 1, 2019.

The then LG had sent them to the Chief Secretary on October 23, 2019 for explanations to be offered by the Kejriwal government on the points highlighted by the Lokayukta, as per the laid down procedure of the Lokayukta Act, 1995.

The reports, along with explanatory notes, were supposed to be sent back to the L-G for final approval before laying them before the Delhi Assembly.

However, the reports were delayed by three years. While the administrative department concerned (Administrative Reform Department, GNCTD) took about an year in preparing the explanatory memorandum, and submitted it to the minister in-charge on September 22, 2020, the minister finally submitted the said reports to the Chief Minister for further forwarding to the L-G only on September 19, 2022.

The CM then sent them for L-G’s approval on September 27, 2022.

The reasons for this inordinate delay of three years were nowhere to be found in the file.

The Kejriwal-led government simply kept sitting on the files in violation of all norms, statutes and simple tenets of proper governance, said an official from the L-G Secretariat.

Saxena, while conveying his approval to the CM for laying the 16th and 17th reports of the Lokayukta before the Assembly, specifically underlined his constraint by noting that “these annual reports of 2017-18 and 2018-19 have been submitted after a lapse of three years”, despite the fact that the “same were forwarded to the government on 23.10.2019, officially”.

He also said that “it is unfortunate that these important reports are not taken seriously and dealt with in a very casual manner, reflecting unexplained delays for years”.

“This inordinate delay deprived the Legislative Assembly to take cognisance of these important reports of the Lokayukta, which deals with matters of corruption, abuse or misuse of position etc. in case of public functionaries,” the L-G noted.

The L-G has asked the CM to recall that even on “earlier occasion, such delays were brought to the CM’s notice and subsequently the matter was placed in the Assembly”.

He pointed out that “being custodian of public trust, it is incumbent upon higher public functionaries to display appropriate alertness in such matters of public importance”.

20221021-205202

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