Meghalaya may pass Lokayukta Bill this winter
Shillong: Under pressure from anti-graft protesters, the Meghalaya government on Tuesday said that the new Lokayukta Bill is likely be passed during the ongoing Winter Session of the Assembly.
"The Lokayukta Bill will also cover the chief minister and lower-rung employees," Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma told reporters after the cabinet meeting held here.
He said, "The cabinet minutely studied the details of the bill and found out that certain fine-tuning of the bill is needed".
The chief minister further asserted that the government wanted to make the matter (Bill) much more focused to tackle corruption.
He also informed the Cabinet will again meet on Thursday to finalise the draft Lokayukta Bill before it can be introduced during this winter session.
To a specific query Dr Sangma said that the government intends to address the issue of corruption.
"We will introduce an effective Lokayukta which will address issues of corruption in a manner befitting to the emerging circumstances," Dr Sangma said.
Earlier, the Chief Minister in his reply to a pointed question in this regard raised by leader of opposition Conrad Kongkal Sangma on the first day to the Winter Session of the assembly said, "We are keen on replacing the existing Act, 2002".
He further referred to the existing Lokayukta Act, regarding which "legal and protocol" issues have been raised.
Mukul, while emphasising that a Lokayukta was "needed and indispensable", said that the state government would either amend or replace the existing Act, as sought by several NGOs.
"Meghalaya should show the way," he said, even as he assured the House that the government was open to discussion on creation of the post of the Lokayukta in consultation with all political parties.
Speaker Charles Pyngrope also urged the government to consider the matter as it was of urgent public importance.
To concerns expressed by Conrad Sangma, the Speaker clarified that the Bill, if introduced in the current session would not lapse even after dissolution of the present assembly, as the state would go to polls to elect a new government early next year.
Pyngrope advised the House not to rush through the proposed Lokayukta Bill as it was a major and important issue.
On the other hand, the Speaker did not allow an adjournment motion on corruption, sought by Opposition Leader Sangma on technical grounds.
Even as he agreed with the contents of the motion seeking a discussion on corruption in the state, the Speaker cited Rule 56 (2) of the Conduct of Business in the House, which indicated that such a motion could be taken up only on specific issues.
"I shall not go against the rules," the Speaker ruled.
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