The Delhi High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation seeking inclusion of Group A, B C and D officers of the Delhi government within the scope and ambit of the Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995.
A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta observed that it is not for the Courts to issue a writ of mandamus to the legislature to either enact or amend the law in a particular way, as may be required by the Petitioner.
"A government functionary indulging in corruption activities, first of all it is a Criminal offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He is also subject to departmental inquiry. So it is all covered...We can quash a law if it is unconstitutional. We can interpret the law. But we cannot direct enactment of the law," Justice Sanghi said.
The Petitioner, an organisation namely Help India Against Corruption, had submitted that Section 14 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 passed by the Parliament coves within its ambit the Group A, B C and D officers of the Central Government. On the other hand, it was argued that the 1995 Act enacted by the Delhi Legislative Assembly only empowers the Lokayukta to enquire into allegations against the political leadership.
Thus, it was his case that the ambit of the legislation passed by legislature in NCT of Delhi is narrower than ambit of 2013 Act. He prayed that the scope and ambit of the 1995 Act should be broadened to cover public servants in the same manner as they are covered by the 2013 Act.
Rejecting these submissions, Justice Sanghi orally remarked,
"Where does the 2013 Act say that every state legislation, if existing, in appointment of Lokayukta, will be amended to be aligned with this Act? Where is the mandate? It's not there. Can we issue a writ to legislature to amend or broaden the law? We cannot."
Government counsel SK Tripathi, appearing on advance notice for the Respondents, also submitted that the Delhi Legislative Assembly has already framed the 1995 Act whereunder Lokayukta stands appointed. Further, the 2013 Act does not envisage that Lokayukta in Delhi should be vested with the same powers in relation to Group A, B, C and D officials of GNCTD as the Lokayukta appointed under the 2013 Acr is invested with powers and jurisdiction under Section 14 of the 2013 Act.
In view of this, the High Court said,
"The Legislative Assembly of the State of Delhi having already enacted the 1995 Act, is not obliged to frame either a new Act or to amend the 1995 Act to bring it in consonance with the 2013 Act. All that Section 63 of the 2013 Act requires is that every State shall establish a Lokayukta body, appointed by a law enacted by the state legislature. In respect of Delhi, the same has been done by the Delhi Assembly by enacting the 1995 Act."
The Court further noted that Section 63 of the 2013 Act states that Lokayukta for State shall deal with complaints relating to corruption against certain public functionaries. However, it does not stipulate that the law made by State in respect of appointment Lokayukta should authorize them to deal with corruption cases against all functionaries covered by the 2013 Act.
Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.
Case Title: Help India Against Corruption v. Union of India
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 497