Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill passed



Shillong: The Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill, 2012 was Friday passed in the Assembly, repealing an act passed ten years ago, amidst opposition from legislators.

The new act covered the chief minister, governor and all public servants, but allowed the state government through a clause to exclude complaints by citing public interest.

Stating that the short timing of the session would not allow a threadbare discussion on the act and its contents, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma proposed that it be passed since sub-rules (c) of Rule 72 of the Rules of procedures and conduct of business was suspended, which allowed him to move a motion to pass the Bill.

"The House is left with either to pass or reject or to refer it to a select committee at this stage," Sangma said.

Speaker Charles Pyngrope refused to accept the demand by opposition legislators for extension of the session and to refer the matter to a select committee saying it could still be amended in future.

Leader of the Opposition Conrad K Sangma, said, "It will be irresponsible behaviour on our part if we pass a Bill that has so many flaws."

Sangma specifically questioned the appointment of members of the Lokayukta when prominent civil society members and elected representatives were excluded.

It concentrated only on members of one profession that is the legal fraternity, while the Act lacked power of prosecution, he said.

Participating in the discussion, legislator Paul Lyngdoh termed the bill as suffering from various deformities and cited the cumbersome process of filing complaints against public servants.

UDP legislator Ardent Basaiawmoit said if the government passed a weak bill, it would only provide room for corrupt practices to flourish.

NGO leaders who attended the session held placards reading 'The CM has betrayed the people' and 'The Babus are to be blamed also'.

The House was subsequently adjourned sine-die.

PTI