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“All we have now is Complete Maladministration”
Justice Shivaraj Patil, the newly appointed Lokayukta of Karnataka says that people’s expectations from Lokayukta have increased tremendously. In a chat with doddipalya narasimhamurthy, he talks about his responsibilities as the Lokayukta, and his views on corruption and good governance.
Issue Date - 15/09/2011
B&E: The job of Lokayukta has assumed great significance in recent months. What will be your priorities as the new Lokayukta of Karnataka?
Shivaraj Patil (SP): I feel I am lucky to have got the opportunity to serve as the Lokayukta of Karnataka. It is an opportunity that has come to me on its own and one which I will utilise to the best of my abilities to serve the people. I have spent most of my tenure in service outside Karnataka. Now is the opportunity to serve the six crore people of my own state.

B&E: The last report of former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde led to political turmoil in the state. How do you view his contributions?
SP: The institution of Lokayukta has been there for a long time now. However, it was Justice Venkatachaliah who made it known to ordinary people through his relentless efforts. Justice Santosh Hegde, who took over from him has shown us how important the institution is and what all can be done through it. As a result, people’s expectations from this institution have increased tremendously. I will honestly strive to fulfill their expectations.

B&E: How do you view the role of Lokayukta in a democracy like ours? How can the office of Lokayukta help to bring about public good and welfare?
SP: All the institutions set up under our Constitution are ultimately meant for the welfare of the people and to establish a system which ensures that people get all that they are entitled to. The Lokayukta’s task is not just confined to nabbing the corrupt and containing corruption, but it also has the added responsibility of ensuring good governance. For example, there are two types of auditing: financial auditing and performance auditing. While the former deals with the sanctioning and allocation of funds, the latter deals with how exactly the intended beneficiaries benefited from the spending. How much is spent is not important, but how people actually benefit from it is more important. What transformation the Lokayukta brings in the life of the common man is the hallmark of its success. And this transformation can’t be brought through public speeches, loud slogans and publicity. It can only be achieved through actions with relentless efforts and by taking uncompromising steps.

B&E: You speak of taking uncompromising steps. How do you propose to do it?
SP: To me, working in the confines of our four walls doesn’t deliver the desired results. We need to go out of office, mingle with the people to understand their feelings and aspirations, as well as understand the ground realities and practical problems. Only then can we come up with more suitable and effective solutions. Understanding poverty in theory is entirely different from understanding it through experience. I have that experience. I hail from a rural area and I know the problems that the rural masses face in their daily lives.

B&E: In recent times, corruption has been a cause of concern for Karnataka. How do you plan to fight corruption?
SP: Corruption is to be seen from two perspectives: individual and systemic. Corruption in the system can only be fought through systemic reforms. Filing cases against corrupt individuals doesn’t help much. We all read about the arrests of corrupt officials, but we don’t know what happens to them later. We must put a system in place where a corrupt individual should be punished within six months to one year from the date of filing of the case. This will have a good impact on society. Of course, tackling corruption is a gigantic task and it can’t be achieved overnight. But we need to put in all efforts to minimise it. We need to involve social activists, organisations and the public to work out a comprehensive action plan. We need to wage a collective crusade against corruption. We should deliver results, not speeches.

B&E: You have always believed that corruption and good governance cannot coexist. For you there is no middle path of a compromise. Is that right?
SP: Yes. Corruption and good governance can never coexist. Corruption and poverty are our biggest enemies and they never allow people to live in peace and dignity. There will be no room for corruption in good governance. All we have now is complete maladministration. People can lead a good life only under a corruption-free setup.

B&E: You speak of making governance inclusive. How do you plan to bring about people’s participation to help establish good governance?
SP: We have plans to conduct public consultation meetings, both at the state and district levels. We also plan to launch a website exclusively for public consultations, where people can freely express themselves. Moreover, we are thinking of launching a helpline as well. Apart from these, people can express their grievances through letters or meetings. If anybody feels that a public servant is amassing wealth through illegal means, he/she can bring it to our notice and we will investigate and take appropriate actions.

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