Kochi: The Kerala High Court has stayed an order from the Lokayuktha, which allowed some students to participate in the state school festival.
The court order comes on a number of government petitions which said anti-corruption bodies Lokayuktha and the Upa Lokayuktha are exceeding their authority when they order admission to the state festival of students who have not been selected from the district level.
The court asked during the hearing how the Upa Lokayuktha can issue such orders.
The petitions were submitted by the additional director of public instruction (ADPI) who is also general convener of the state school youth festival.
His plea alleges that the Upa Lokayuktha issued 52 orders exceeding his authority.
At the same time, it is understood that nearly 200 complaints related to the youth festival are pending with the Upa Lokayuktha.
The government is eyeing more petitions. It argues that orders asking for admission of contestants will throw the youth festival into disarray, and causes great hardship to organizers as well as participants.
As per the Kerala Lokayuktha Act, the authority can examine and act on complaints about abuse of power by government servants.
The complaints on the youth festival do not cite any lapses on the part of government officials.
Besides, subjects like participation and performance of students in the festival, as also the rights of students, are outside the purview of the Lokayuktha's powers.
The argument is that an order to let a student contest does not stand legal scrutiny.
At the same time, the Lokayuktha insists that students cleared by it can indeed participate and that the High Court stay is not binding on them.
Only those in the three writ petitions submitted by the government are affected by the stay, it says.
Read more: Kalolsavam News