The country’s apex body of 17 lokayuktas on Sunday appealed to the higher judiciary to exercise restraint in dealing with matters being looked into by these state-level anti-graft watchdogs.
The appeal was made by Delhi lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin in the presence of several judges of the Supreme Court and high courts during his address at the valedictory session of the three-day All-India Lokayuktas’ Conference.
“I want to bring to the notice of the lordships the urgent need to sensitise the judiciary with respect to the functioning of lokayuktas. Certain parties who are issued notices by us for any wrongdoing approach the courts to get the matters delayed,” Justice Sarin said.
Justice Sarin said: “Say if a complaint of unauthorised construction in a building is received, the owner immediately takes the plea that it was done 10 years ago by their elders and try to bring in the limitation period. But are they not getting beneficial enjoyment.”
He said there have been instances where courts granted stay orders in matters being inquired by lokayuktas without seeking their version and such matters lingered on for years.
Justice Madan B Lokur of the Supreme Court cautioned against unnecessary judicial interference in the functioning of lokayuktas.
“Those of us in the legal fraternity should not interfere in the functioning of lokayuktas at the drop of a hat, since it might undermine this institution,” Justice Lokur said.