Does Lokayukta have power to pass directions upon disciplinary authority to take action against erring officials? Jharkhand HC elaborates in light of Jharkhand Lokayukta Act, 2001

Jharkhand High Court

Jharkhand High Court: Sujit Narayan Prasad, J., addresses a very pertinent question of whether the Jharkhand Lokayukta Act, 2001 provides power for issuance of direction upon the disciplinary authority to take action against erring officials or can it’s order be limited to a recommendation.

A petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, whereby and whereunder the order passed by respondent 2 had been assailed, primarily on the ground that under the provision of Section 12(3) and Section 12(5)(A), the Lokayukta had no power to direct the disciplinary authority to take action on the basis of the fact-finding report.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court on taking into consideration the import of the statutory provision specifically as provided under Section 12(3) and 12(5)(k) of the Jharkhand Lokayukta Act, 2001 came to the conclusive finding that the statute does not provide power for issuance of direction upon the disciplinary authority to take action against the erring officials.

Bench held that the statute provides power upon the Lokayukta to make recommendations on the basis of the fact-finding if any irregularities had been surfaced in the course thereof.

High Court found from the impugned order that the order had been passed making the recommendation to the competent authority to suspend the petitioner along with other public servants whose name had been referred and to initiate a departmental proceeding, apart from that, an FIR had also been recommended to be instituted.

Further, it appeared that after making recommendation, the stipulation had been made to the effect that such recommendation was being made, so that, in future, such occurrence may not be repeated.

The order had been passed upon the authority concerned to communicate to the Office of the Lokayukta about the action taken report within the 3 months.

Hence, it was evident that the impugned order, initially contained a recommendation of suspending the public servants and initiating the departmental proceeding against them as also instituting an FIR. If the order would have been up to the stage of recommendation, then it would have been said to be in consonance with the provision of Section 12(3) and 12(5)(k) under which the power has been conferred by the Lokayukta to take decision by making recommendation before the competent authority, so that, the recommendation, if required be acted upon.

“…stipulation as has been made to the effect that such recommendation is being made, so that, such occurrence may not be repeated and the action taken report be also furnished within the period of three months, is changing the nature of recommendation making it as a direction.”

Therefore, High Court expressed that since the provision of Section 12(3) does not confer power upon the Lokayukta to pass such direction commanding upon the disciplinary authority to take action against whom irregularities were found to be true in course of inquiry.

Bench relying upon the decision of this Court in WP (C) No. 263 of 2019, held that the Lokayukta’s impugned order shall be modified to the extent that the same will be treated to be recommendation.

“…the authority before whom, the finding along with the recommendation has been sent, is directed to act strictly in pursuance to the provision of Section 12 of the Act, 2001, so that the purpose for which, the Lokayukta Act, 2001 as has been enacted, be achieved, keeping this into consideration the Chief Secretary of the State is directed to ensure compliance of this order.”

In view of the above petition was disposed of. [Jai Prakash Narayan Sinha v. State of Jharkhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Jhar 99, decided on 10-2-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioners: Shilpi Sandil, Advocate

For the State: P.A.S. Pati, Advocate

For the Respondent 2: Rajesh Kumar, Advocate

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