Lokayukta for J&K

In fact, many political analysts hold the view that one of the chief reasons for withdrawing special status followed by according Union Territory status to Jammu and Kashmir was also to fight the menace of corruption that had not only seeped deep into the administrative system but had assumed alarming proportions. Since Anti Corruption Act as applicable to rest of the states was not holding its sway here as there was a separate Act enacted which not only was quite diluted in form but was not enforced strictly as well. It is because of the reasons of non applicability of the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act passed by the Parliament six years back which was not implemented in Jammu and Kashmir that corruption was not tackled in the way it should have been .
However, Law Commission has recommended setting up of Lokayuktas in Jammu and Kashmir to extensively deal with the complaints relating to corruption against public servants and also cases of mal- administration. It is a highly in consonance with the much needed requirement in Jammu and Kashmir. The recommendations deserve to be endorsed and appreciated. The institution of Lokayukta is very important in itself in matters of both its continuity and immunity against any removal , dismissal or transferring by a Government . It can be removed only by an impeachment motion by the Assembly of a state . This anti corruption Ombudsman is also tasked to deal with quick public redressing mechanism . We do not appear to have come across instances where Accountability Commission had functioned very effectively so as to take place or step into the shoes of Anti Corruption Act which , however, is wound up following repealing of Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act passed by the Parliament in August this year.
It is a stark fact that the political culture especially those at the helm in the Government, were, as a policy, adopting very lukewarm and indifferent attitude towards eradication of corruption . They, in many instances, were appearing to be just presiding over, not entirely willy -nilly , the well established net work of corruption and fixing responsibility and pin pointing accountability were thought as an affront or at best, orders were issued just for formality and inquiries delayed or managed to the benefit of the accused, in most of the cases. Now , under Lokayukta , the concept of instituting enquiries shall mean taking to logical ends sans any ‘invisible’ intervention or interference . Projects and schemes meant for public welfare and utility which were , in most of the cases, suffering on account of element of corruption at every level of execution right from floating tenders to the culmination of the projects , with exceptions of course but in very few cases, shall now see a marked change. Since Ministers, Members of the Legislative Assembly , officers and bureaucrats etc all shall be coming under the ambit of the “Civil Commissioner” (Lokayukta), it shall have a realisable effect on the entire spectrum, of the system of administration and the governance.
Lokayukta , once appointed , in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir , as a special case, must widen its functioning by re-opening even those cases of corruption which got consumed by protracted tactics or other administrative connivance, even most of them ‘managed’ as a result of political influence and never reached the corridors of justice . Regaining public trust in the system with added confidence requires the policy of no leniency shown to those who treat public service as a means to amass wealth and pile up properties by adopting illegal means and abusing and misusing the official position.
Let us fervently hope that the recommendations of the Law Commission get translated into a reality without any loss of time . There is no fun in the said recommendations being put in the ice box . Moreover, there is no dearth of the requisite talent, integrity and capability in Jammu and Kashmir to run the organisation of the Lokayukta in an effective manner.