Lokayukta Bill `discriminatory`: NGO

Last Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 17:13

Dehradun: A day after the Uttarakhand
cabinet approved the draft of a Lokayukta bill, a leading NGO
in the state on Sunday alleged that its key provisions were
"discriminatory".

The Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, 2011, which is a mixture
of various drafts like Anna Hazare`s version of the Lokpal
bill, is likely to be tabled tomorrow in the state Assembly
when the session resumes after a month-ling recess.

Among other provisions, the Bill has brought the post of
the Chief Minister, all ministers, MLAs and government
servants, including IAS and IPS officers, within its ambit
with a provision of life imprisonment or more severe
punishment.

Avadash Kaushal, chairperson of RLEK, a Dehradun-based
NGO which specialises in legal matters, claimed that
prosecution of MLAs, ministers and chief ministers is "highly
impossible" since the government has kept a clause of
obtaining permission from all members of the Lokayukta,
including chairman, for investigation and prosecution.
"This above stated provision is highly impossible when
the situation arises.

"It means that if any of the members of the Lokayukta is
not favouring the investigation and prosecution against the
high functionaries then the investigation will not take
place," Kaushal, a Padma Shri awardee, said.

"This bill is fully discriminatory and unconstitutional
because before the law everyone is equal," he said.

Also, while lower judiciary will be covered under the
Lokayukta, judges of the Uttarakhand High Court will not be
under its purview.

While questioning the wisdom of ignoring the High Court
on the issue of removal of the Lokayukta through a provision
that Lokayukta and its members can only be removed on the
recommendations of the Supreme Court, Kaushal asked, "Since
Lokayukta is state subject, then why to go to Supreme Court
when the High Court already exists in the state?" he asked.

Kaushal said the bill should not be passed in haste and
instead should be referred to a standing committee for further
discussions.

As per the Bill, former chief ministers, former ministers
and retired officers will also be under the purview of the
Lokayukta, which would consist of a chairperson and five
members with a scope of increasing the number to seven as per
the need and requirement.

The term of the chairperson would be five years or upto
the age of 70 years whichever is earlier.

After completion of investigations, the charge sheet will
be filed by the Lokayukta in a special court established under
the Prevention of Corruption Act for a speedy trial.

The period of investigation as far as possible would not
be more than 12 months.

The Lokayukta will also have the power to recommend
punishment of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank against
government servants.

The recommendation shall be binding on the appointing or
disciplinary authority of the government.

For any act of corruption, the punishment shall not be
less than six months of rigorous imprisonment and may extend
upto the imprisonment of ten years.

In the rarest of rare case, the punishment may be
extended upto life imprisonment under the provisions of the
bill.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 17:13

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