Who is the Lokayukta and how can he help me?
The role of the Lokayukta is essentially that of an ombudsman against corruption in the Government. The Lokayukta is usually a retired High Court Judge appointed by the Governor, and is an independent statutory functionary. He also performs certain grievance redressal functions, but in a limited scope, as he only deals with Public Servants, including Ministers and senior bureaucrats. He is assisted by a Deputy or ‘Upa-Lokayukta’ as well as a team of officials working under them.
As per the website of the Maharashtra Lokayukta, his duties are “to investigate and make recommendation to redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration and (ii) to investigate and make recommendations in complaints of allegations involving abuse of position and corruption against public servant. The functions, powers and jurisdiction of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta are laid down in the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act, 1971.”
The State of Maharashtra has the honour of being the first in the country to have appointed a Lokayukta with the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act being passed in 1971, and the State’s first Lokayukta being appointed in 1972. Several other States have their own Lokayuktas but they vary in their powers, duties, and organisational structure.
An important point to note, is that the Lokayukta does not investigate the allegations itself, but directs the appropriate agency, such as the Anti Corruption Bureau, to take appropriate action, and can monitor the case if need be.
Complaints can be filed by anyone against any public servant under the Government of Maharashtra including Ministers, IAS Officers, and officials of Municipal Corporations/Councils or Panchayats, and Zilla Parishads. However, their jurisdiction does not cover Central Government Institutions or those of other States. The Chief Minister is the only Minister not covered under the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction.
The complaints can be made via post, email, or even in person. Details of how to file a complaint, the formats, and FAQs can be found by clicking here.
To view a report of a Social Sanchar held on World Consumer Rights Day 2017, featuring the Maharashtra Lokayukta Justice M.L. Tahaliyani, click here.