‘Order passed without conducting any preliminary investigation’
Minister for Higher Education and Minority Welfare K.T. Jaleel on Monday approached the Kerala High Court challenging the Lok Ayukta’s order finding him guilty of “abuse of power, favouritism, nepotism, and violation of oath of office” and holding that he should not continue in the post of Minister.
The Lok Ayukta passed the order on a complaint that alleged that K.T. Adeeb, a relative of the Minister, had been illegally appointed as general manager of the Kerala State Minorities Finance Development Corporation, on deputation.
According to the complaint, his action amounted to maladministration as provided under Section 2(k) of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999. In July, 2016 two months after Mr.Jaleel took charge as Minister, he wrote a letter to the authority concerned to change the qualification for the post of general manager.
The Lok Ayukta found that the Minister’s decision to change the qualification for the post of general manager and add BTech with PGDBA as qualification for the post was to make his second cousin eligible for the post.
The Lok Ayukta also held that the conduct of Mr. Jaleel “violated the oath of office he had taken as a Minister to discharge his duties as a Minister without fear or favour, affection or ill will”.
In his petition, Mr. Jaleel pointed out that the findings of the Lok Ayukta were perverse and that it had not followed any procedure mandated under the law. In fact, the order was passed without conducting any preliminary investigation or adjudicating the issue as to whether the complaint against him was to be entertained or not.
The Lok Ayukta had proceeded to finalise its report solely based on the oral arguments of the parties. The Lok Ayukta ought not have entertained the complaint, since the matter related to prescription of qualification and appointment to the minority corporation, which had been excluded from the purview of investigation under the Lok Ayukta Act.
He sought to quash the Lok Ayukta’s order. The petition is likely to come up before the court on April 13.
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