Goa Lokayukta Amendment Bill 2013 passed

Goa Legislative Assembly Wednesday passed the Goa Lokayukta (First Amendment) Bill, 2013 on Wednesday.

Panaji: Goa Legislative Assembly Wednesday passed the Goa Lokayukta (First Amendment) Bill, 2013 by deleting a contentious clause pertaining to the `veracity` of the complaint filed with the ombudsman, which was opposed by RTI activists.

However, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, after tabling the draft amendments to the Bill, said he still feels that the earlier amendments that were objected by RTI activists, were indeed justified.

The Goa Lokayukta Bill (First Amendment), passed on the floor of the House today during the ongoing Budget session, is a toned down version of the earlier bill which had prescribed criminal proceedings under clause 8 for filing the "false, frivolous and vexatious" complaints" before Lokayukta.

The provision had prompted RTI activists and opposition Congress to raise their pitch against the original bill passed by the state legislative Assembly during the last session.
After the Bill was referred to Governor B V Wanchoo for his assent, he sent it back to the House suggesting certain amendments on par with the demands made by activists and opposition Congress party.

The House, however, maintained a provision recommending a fine between Rs 10,000 to Rs one lakh, if the complaint is found to be false, frivolous and vexatious after the investigation by Lokayukta in the new bill.

In a major change, the clause of `deemed to be rejected` if indicted by Lokayukta has been changed to `deemed to be accepted` if competent authorities do not act on the reports within three months.
The government, however, retained the clause saying that minister "may" resign if found indicted by Lokayukta, refusing to accede to the demand by RTI activists to change it to "shall".

Backing the clause, Parrikar maintained that "No chief minister will leave scot free any of his minister or government officer involved in corruption".


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