'Misuse of office tantamount to corruption': HC notes while junking Jaleel's plea

K T Jaleel
K T Jaleel. File photo

Kochi: Any judgment of the Lok Ayukta or Upa Lok Ayukta cannot be challenged legally, but there is a provision for judicial review. This observation was made by the Kerala High Court the other day in its judgment, rejecting former minister K T Jaleel’s petition against the Lok Ayukta verdict that he was not fit to continue in office.

The terms and conditions for appointing the Lok Ayukta and Upa Lok Ayukta and their position have made it clear that their decision would be final, the court stated.

The review, however, will not be against the anti-corruption body’s decision, but the steps initiated on the decision, the High Court Division Bench said.

(Judicial review is a court proceeding by which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.)

Other observations

The court also noted that the misuse of public resources and offices for personal gains are on the rise despite the presence of an alert media.

The High Court said the misuse of public resources and power amounted to corruption. All public servants, from the chief minister to panchayat members, come under the gambit of the Lok Ayukta Act. The Act aims at eradicating corruption from the public sphere.

Lok Ayukta is a civil commissioner acts as an anti-corruption ombudsman in India.

Jaleel resigned after the Lok Ayukta ruling on the allegation that he had flouted rules to appoint a relative, K T Adeeb, as the general manager of the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation Limited.

Before rejecting Jaleel’s plea, the High Court examined in detail his arguments that the Lok Ayukta had not followed due process, did not conduct a proper probe and did not hear him. The Bench also pointed out that the petitioner failed in establishing the reasons for the need for the High Court’s intervention.

The High Court said the Lok Ayukta had found that the directive to tweak the educational qualification required for the General Manager was not issued by the Kerala State Minorities Development Corporation, but the idea was mooted by Jaleel himself.

Adeeb’s application for appointment as general manager was placed before the government instead of leaving it to the consideration of the board of members of the Corporation. Subsequently, the minister ordered the appointment, the High Court said citing paragraph 46 of the Lok Ayukta report.

The court also pointed out that the petitioner had not objected to these facts in the Lok Ayukta report.

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