What now? There seems to be no precedent for this

A Bengaluru-based civic group has lodged a complaint with the Karnataka Lokayukta accusing 78 Congress MLAs of working “to destroy the democratic fabric of our nation” by seeking the removal of Upalokayukta Subhas B Adi.

The Janaadhikaara Sangharsha Parishath lodged a complaint against 78 MLAs of the Congress for bringing disrepute to the Lokayukta institution under Section 17 (2) of the Lokayukta Act. The complaint, dated June 18, has been accepted by the Registrar of the Karnataka Lokayukta.

It is unknown if there is any precedent for such a complaint.

Seeking disqualification of the MLAs, the complaint said that the 78 MLAs had moved a motion that was “Admitted” by the Speaker on November 27, 2015, and that was “later claimed” to be sent to the Karnataka High Court on February 26, 2016.

The eight-page complaint says: “After a detailed investigation, on 26-05-2016, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa announced that he has received the report of Justice Budhihal. In this report, Justice Adi has been exonerated of the charges made by the 78 MLAs.”

Justice Adi had been accused of overstepping his jurisdiction and closing cases involving relatives of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar. The Congress also dug out an old case involving Adi’s son-in-law.

Justice Adi resumed charge in March after being given a clean chit by the Karnataka High Court committee.

Attached to the complaint is a list of the 78 MLAs who are said to have signed a motion in the Assembly, for the removal of Adi on allegations of corruption. Among the MLAs are ministers and prominent leaders of the Congress such as Priyank Kharge, NA Haris, JR Lobo, AB Malakareddy, Rudrappa M Lamani, Anil H Lad, KB Koliwad, Ramesh Jarikiholi, KR Ramesh Kumar, Pramod Mahdwaraj, and Tanveer Sait.

The letter said: “On hindsight, it was clearly proven that this action of MLAs is nothing but a misuse of power provided through the amendment and does not befit them suitable or responsible enough to the post of elected representatives of the people of Karnataka. In our opinion, such MLAs should be disqualified from the MLA post and barred from contesting for 6 years by the Chief Election Commissioner of Karnataka for disturbing the fragile balance between the Legislature and the Judiciary as Lokayukta/Upalokayukta has a judicial background, though they are quasi-judicial authorities.”

However, section 17(2) of the Act provides for a punishment of imprisonment between six and 12 months, or fine, or both.