Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Assembly Friday passed the Lokayukta bill in the absence of the opposition Congress, with Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal saying it is "more strong and constitutional than Uttarakhand`s bill".
"That (Uttarakhand) bill has not so far been given assent by the president due to some legal hitches, but our bill is fully constitutional and comprehensive," Dhumal said.
Before the bill was introduced, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal had criticised the Himachal bill as "very weak and ineffective". He had asked the state to follow the Uttarakhand system of Lokayukta.
Dhumal said the bill gives the Lokayukta powers of contempt of court on par with the high court by incorporating a new clause.
"The Lokayukta shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, powers and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a high court has and may exercise, and, for this purpose, the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, shall have the effect subject to the modification that the references therein to a high court shall be construed as including a reference to the Himachal Lokayukta," says the clause.
The bill was introduced in the Assembly Wednesday to put an effective Lokayukta system in place by giving more power to the ombudsman.