Bengaluru, Aug 11: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday abolished the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) constituted by the state government in 2016.
A division bench of Justices B Veerappa and KS Hemalekha pronounced the order while allowing the public interest litigations filed by advocate Chidananda Urs, Advocates' Association of Bangalore and Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya challenging the constitution of ACB.
The petitioners have challenged the notifications issued by the state government in March 2016 constituting ACB and withdrawing the powers of the Prevention of Corruption Act from Karnataka Lokayukta.
Quashing both the notifications, the division bench directed the ACB to transfer the cases and officers under its ambit to Karnataka Lokayukta which will have to take up those cases further and utilise those officers' services to strengthen Lokayukta institution to eradicate corruption.
Further, the high court directed the state government to maintain transparency and appoint a competent person as Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta in the interest of the public.
The court observed that the state government has failed to justify why the notification was issued to create Anti-Corruption Bureau and also why it has withdrawn powers from Lokayukta to investigate cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Siddaramaiah- led Congress government created ACB in 2016. Though the BJP promised to restore the powers of the Prevention of Corruption Act with Lokayukta in its manifesto, the BJP government failed to keep up its promise.
On the other hand, the JD (S), which had promised to restore the power to probe corruption cases with Lokayukta if it comes to power, did not do it since it formed a coalition government.