Bangalore, Oct 13: In a move seen as an attempt to bail out former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and other ministers indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, the BJP government decided to seek "clarifications" from Lokayukta on its recommendations over removal of ministers.
The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, which debated the July 27 Lokayukta report, was of the opinion that the Lokayukta has not followed the principle of natural justice while recommending action against the then chief minister and removal of three other ministers.
"The order directing the removal of MLA or the minister is like civil death," Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters after the cabinet meeting. Clarifications were being sought on the basis of advice tendered by the state's advocate general and some legal experts, he said.
Deliberating on the report two and half months after it was submitted by then Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, the cabinet decided to raise the issue whether non-officials, i.e. MLAs and MLCs could be bracketed under category of "public servant" under section 13 of Lokayukta Act, as the matter was probed by it on a reference by government under Section 7 (2)A of the act.
"It was essentially necessary for Lokayukta to follow the principles of natural justice. Persons named in the report should have been given an opportunity to explain. It is understood that no order can be passed in violation of principles of natural justice," he said.