Karnataka: High Court dissolves Anti-Corruption bureau

On Thursday, the Karnataka High Court dissolved the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) established by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress administration in 2016 and reinstated the authority of the Lokayukta police department.

All cases now pending before the ACB would now be moved to the Lokayukta police wing, a division bench made up of Justices B Veerappa and K S Hemalekha said after granting a batch of petitions contesting the establishment of the ACB. The establishment of ACB was described as a “transgression by an executive administrative order to usurp the powers of Lokayukta” in the report.

The court declared that the Lokayukta will incorporate the employees and personnel of the ACB.

The state government’s decision to create the ACB by an executive order when the Lokayukta Act was in effect to combat corruption, according to the court, was not justified. The court also ruled that the state was unjustified in overriding an earlier announcement that conferred the Lokayukta police investigative authority under the Prevention of Corruption Act with a notification dated March 19, 2016.

The petitions were submitted by the Dharwad-based NGO Samaj Parivartana Samudaya as well as the Advocates’ Association of Bangalore. They had contested the government’s decision to revoke the Lokayukta police’s right to conduct investigations under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The ACB received the powers from the government.

The court ruled that ACB, which was constituted by presidential order, lacks legal support and is unable to carry out police duties until it is created by legislation. The court said, “The constitution of ACB itself is shaky, opposed to the provisions of law and cannot perform the duty of the police.The police wing is an independent investigating agency and though the ACB purports to create an independent wing, it is controlled by the chief minister i.e., control of political executive. The ACB cannot constitute an independent police force when already the field is occupied by the Karnataka Police Act, 1963,”

Source: Deccan Herald, India Today


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