Nagaland Lokayukta probes 103 cases in maiden year
Kohima, Feb. 17 (EMN): The Nagaland Lokayukta investigated 103 cases, out of which 15 were closed, during February 2019 to February 2020, according to its first annual administrative report tabled during the recently concluded 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) in Kohima.
The Nagaland Lokayukta (Amendment Act) 2019 came into force on February 22, 2019. The former chief justice of High Court of Meghalaya, Justice Uma Nath Singh was sworn in as the first Lokayukta of Nagaland, on the same day.
The total number of cases brought forward from the erstwhile State Vigilance Commission stands at 78 (RE-40 and PE-38), while 25 new cases were registered under Nagaland Lokayukta establishment within a period of one year, as per the report.
As of February 2020, as many as 88 (PE-50 and RC-38) cases were under inquiry. Meanwhile, the list of cases where orders were passed in the court of Lokayukta, and Upa-Lokayukta Nagaland from January 2019 to February 2020, stand at 111 and 18 respectively.
The establishment has recovered a total of INR 26,14,341 from the earlier investigated cases. Eight officials (five gazetted, three non-gazetted officers) were served with administrative warnings from the earlier investigated cases. A case of an incomplete project under the department of Urban Development was completed after the investigation, the report stated.
Total cases that are under trial stand at six, departmental proceedings case is one, while the final report submission case is three, as of February 2020, according to the report.
Seeks people’s support to fight corruption
Justice Uma Nath, in the preface of the annual report, wrote: “Nagaland Lokayukta organisation is at a formative stage and unless the political will, and people of Nagaland, come forward to stand by in support and ensure enough provisions in terms of requisites like infrastructure, logistics, manpower and a fully trained and well-equipped police establishment to nip the corruption in bud, this organisation may remain a helpless and mute spectator.”
He also expressed surprise at the knowledge that there has been “no trap case against corrupt public servants”. According to him, it may be “due to lack of courage and awareness in people to come forward and report to Nagaland Lokayukta police, or maybe due to leakage of information in advance, on account of tribalism and a close-knit society with small population, about such operation to corrupt public servants or may be due to risk to their life in the absence of support by special armed police force required to be posted for assistance and protection”.
Need for separate High Court
Justice Singh also stressed upon the “urgent need for the creation of a separate High court for the state of Nagaland”.
“Unless there is a separate High court for Nagaland, the local bar will never grow and the people may be hesitant to agitate serious constitutional and legal issues due to apprehension that such matters can be shifted to the principal bench at Guwahati on account of administrative exigencies. Easy access to constitutional courts is one of the salient features of Rule of Law,” he wrote.
The organisation has been “raising need-based demands for requisites from time to time and if the same are not addressed within a time frame without getting entangled and held up in red-tapism, the very purpose and objectives of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act shall stand defeated,” he stated.
Singh also went on to mention the inadequate facilities and shortage of manpower faced by the Lokayukta.
He said the police organisation is somehow managing to work without any weapon, forensic laboratory, cyber cell, and shortage of vehicles, especially to travel to remote areas.