At last, after much delay, the Lokayukta in Tamilnadu has taken shape. Retired judge P Devadass of Madras High Court has been appointed the anti-corruption ombudsman. According to the notification issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, former district judges K Jayabalan and R Krishnamoorthy are the two judicial members and retired IAS officer M Rajaram and advocate K Arumugam are the two non-judicial members of the anti-corruption body. Now that the Lokayukta is formed in the State, the body should prove wrong allegations from the Opposition that it is a toothless entity.
Hopes are high on Lokayukta chief Devadass, who has decades of experience in the judiciary. Enrolled as an advocate in 1981, he joined the State subordinate judiciary in May 1986. After serving in various capacities, he became judge of the Madras High Court in September 2013. He had made a comparative study of Judicial Training Programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra and submitted a report on ‘Revamping the Judicial Training Programmes in Tamilnadu’. Justice Devadass was famous for his verdict in a rape case and his observation ‘women and children were increasingly affected by men’s lust and that rapists do not deserve any sympathy’.
Those who indulge in corruption, too, do not deserve any sympathy and let us hope the Lokayukta’s actions would be based on this line. Lokayukta has all the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and has jurisdiction over all MLAs, former MLAs, Ministers, former ministers and all public servants defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. On receipt of a complaint, the Lokayukta would initially decide whether to proceed with the matter and eventually order a preliminary inquiry. The complaint would be later forwarded to the Vigilance Commission for conducting a preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether a prima facie case exists. In case the officers belong to Group A and B, the Vigilance Commission would submit its report to the Lokayukta, and in the case of Group C and D staff, it would proceed against them. In case of need for a detailed inquiry, the Inquiry Wing of the Lokayukta would probe the case and submit a report. Based on the report, the Lokayukta would recommend action against the public servants. Let corruption end and justice prevail.