‘State-owned corporations cannot entrust inquiries against staff to Lokayukta’

A State-owned corporation cannot entrust inquiries against its employees to the Lokayukta or Upalokayukta without specially adopting the Karnataka Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeals) Rules, 1957, through its Board of Directors, the Karnataka High Court has held.

The court passed the order while quashing an order passed by the Managing Director of Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Ltd. (KRIDL) in October 2018 entrusting an inquiry against three engineers to the Lokayukta.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing petitions filed by G.B. Devaraj, an executive engineer, and two others.

Noticing that the Board of KRIDL had adopted conduct and service rules of the State, the Bench said that Conduct Rules would mean Karnataka Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1966, and Service Rules is a vague term as the service conditions of a government servant is determined under various service rules.

Pointing out that the power of entrusting an inquiry to the Lokayuka is dealt under the provisions of the KCS(CCA) Rules, 1957, which not only contains provision for entrusting the Lokayukta but also deals with elaborate procedure for conduct of disciplinary proceedings against government servant, the Bench held that KRIDL’s Board had not specifically adopted the 1957 rules when inquiry against the petitioners were entrusted to the Lokayukta.

However, the court made it clear that quashing of entrusting of inquiry to Lokayukta would not preclude KRIDL to proceed against the petitioners as per its own cadre and recruitment rules.

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