Matters which may be investigated by Lok Ayukta

Section 7 of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act 1999 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’ for short) reads as follows : “7. Matters which may be investigated by the Lok Ayukta and the Upa-Lok Ayuktas.- (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Lok Ayukta and one of the Upa-Lok Ayuktas, as may be nominated by the Lok Ayukta for the purpose, may investigate any action which is taken by or with the general or specific approval of –

(i) the Chief Minister; or

(ii) a Minister; or

(iii) a Member of the State legislature; or

(iv) a Secretary; or

(v) an office bearer of a political party at the state level; or

(vi) an officer referred to in sub-clause (iii) of clause (d) of Section 2,

in any case where a complaint involving a grievance or an allegation is made in respect of such action and where there is difference of opinion between the Lok Ayukta and the Upa-Lok Ayukta as so nominated, the action shall be investigated by the Lok Ayukta and both the Upa-Lok Ayuktas together and the decision of the majority therein shall prevail,

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, an Upa-Lok Ayukta may investigate any action which is taken by, or with the general or specific approval of, any public servant not being the Chief Minister or a Minister or a Member of the State Legislature or a Secretary or an office bearer of a political party at State level or an officer referred to in sub-clause (iii) of clause (d) of Section 2, in any case where a complaint involving a grievance or an allegation is made in respect of such actions or such action can be or could have been in the opinion of the Upa-Lok Ayukta, the subject of a grievance or an allegation.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (1) and (2), the Lok Ayukta or an Upa-Lok Ayukta may investigate any action taken by or with the general or specific approval of a public servant, if it is referred to him by the Government.

(4) The Lok Ayukta may, by general or special order, assign to each of the Upa-Lok Ayuktas the matters which may be investigated by them under this Act.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (1) to (4), when an Upa-Lok Ayukta is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, his functions may be discharged by the other Upa-Lok Ayukta, and in the absence of both, by the Lok Ayukta

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provisions of this Act, no investigation made by an Upa-Lok Ayukta under this Act and no action taken or things done by him in respect of such investigation shall be open to question on the ground only that such investigation relates to a matter which is not assigned to him by such order.

(7) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that the term ‘Lok Ayukta’ wherever it is used in this Act, in relation to any of the persons referred to in sub-section (1), shall mean the Lok Ayukta and, as the case may be, one or both of the Upa- Lok Ayuktas as provided in that sub-section.”

Sub Section 2 of the above provision confers jurisdiction on the Upa- Lok Ayukta to investigate any action which is taken by, or with the general or specific approval of any public servant where a complaint involving a grievance or an allegation is made in respect of such actions or such action can be or could have been in the opinion of the Upa-Lok Ayukta, the subject of a grievance or an allegation. The expressions “grievance” and “allegation” have been defined in the Act.

# Section 2 (b) defines allegation as follows :

(b) “allegation”, in relation to a public servant, means any affirmation that such public servant,-

(i) has abused his position as such public servant to obtain any gain or favour to himself or to any other person or to cause undue harm or hardship to any other person;

(ii) was actuated in the discharge of his functions as such public servant by personal interest or improper or corrupt motives; or

(iii) is guilty of corruption, favouritism, nepotism or lack of integrity in his capacity as such public servant;

# Section 2(h) defines grievance as follows :

(h) “grievance” means a claim by a person that he sustained injustice or undue hardship in consequence of maladministration;

# Section 2(k) defines maladministration as follows :

(k) “mal-administration” means action taken or purporting to have been taken in the exercise of administrative functions in any case where,-

(i) such action or the administrative procedure or practice adopted in such action is unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory; or

(ii) there has been wilful negligence or undue delay in taking such action or the administrative procedure or practice adopted in such action involves undue delay;

# Case Laws on Lok Ayukta

# 1. Kerala Water Authority Vs. D. Rajendran, (2015) 414 KLW 625

The 1st petitioner is a statutory autonomous body conferred with the duty of supplying water. The complaint was considered by the Upa-Lok Ayukta and an order was passed directing the Water Authority to recompute the water charges due from the 1st respondent for the period from August 1998 to April 2003. The Upa-Lok Ayukta, has been conferred with sufficient jurisdiction to undertake an investigation on complaint. The provisions confer specific powers on the Upa-Lok Ayukta to investigate the said grievance. What the Upa-Lok Ayukta has done by the Order is only to direct a re-computation of the water charges actually due from the petitioner. The Court does not find any infirmity in the said order.

# 2. Commissioner of Police v. Abida Beevi. 2006 (2) KLT 112

Even assuming the Lok Ayukta had no jurisdiction, if the order passed by it renders justice, High Court need not interfere with it.

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