Lok Aayog’s role held to be purely advisory/recommendatory, not empowered to issue/enforce any order

Chhattisgarh High Court:  The Bench of Sanjay K. Agrawal, J. has categorically held that the role of the Chhattisgarh Lok Aayog under the Chhattisgarh Lok Aayog Adhiniyam, 2002 is only advisory and recommendatory in character and concededly not an authority empowered to issue and enforce any order by itself except submitting a report to the competent authority for appropriate action. The Lok Aayog being a recommendatory body is not an authority empowered to pass an order and recommendation must be seen in contradistinction to direction or mandate as held by the Supreme Court in Manohar v. State of Maharashtra, (2012) 13 SCC 14.

The Court observed that as per Section 11(1) of the Adhiniyam, 2002, upon receipt of a complaint and after enquiry, if the Lok Aayog is of the opinion that the complainant has been able to establish the complaint, the Lok Aayog by a report in writing, has to communicate its findings and recommendations along with relevant documents and evidence to the competent authority as defined in Section 2(b). It is appropriate to notice that what is required to be reported by the Lok Aayog is its finding and recommendation. The Explanation to Section 11(1) states that “Opinion of Lok Aayog in relation to any complaint, including a decision, report, finding or conclusion thereon, means the opinion of the majority of its members.” Thus clearly the Lok Aayog has to communicate its opinion to the competent authority over the conduct of the delinquent public servant after its investigation and in no case it can be the mandate or order of the Lok Aayog to the competent authority.

The Court held that in the instant case, the Lok Aayog had failed to communicate its recommendation in the shape of report to the competent authority, rather it had communicated its order in the shape of mandate and thereby transgressed the advisory jurisdiction envisaged under Section 11(1) of the Adhiniyam, 2002 to report its recommendation which is ex facie without jurisdiction and without authority of law. The duty and function of the Lok Aayog after enquiry of any action in respect of the complaint received and investigated by him is recommendatory, precatory, advisory or directory in nature as it has to advise, counsel or suggest with certain course to be pursued or deposition made. [S.P.R. Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2016 SCC OnLine Chh 466, decided on February 26, 2016]

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