New Lokayukta Bill is to meet requirement of 13th Fin Com: Govt



Ahmedabad: In the wake of strong criticism voiced by opposition parties to the new Lokayukta bill, the Gujarat government on Saturday said the bill would be introduced to meet the requirements of the 13th Finance Commission which has linked Rs 300 crore per year grant to the state with setting up of an effective anti-corruption watchdog.

Governor Kamla Beniwal, while returning the amendment to the present Lokayukta Bill, had also recommended the state to have more than one-member body to probe corruption charges against state functionaries, an official release said.

One of the recommendations, the state said, made by the 13th Finance Commission was setting up of an independent investigative body to probe complaints against elected representatives and officials of local organisations.

The State governments should appoint a corruption watchdog to probe allegations against locally elected representatives and officials involved in administrative work and suggest actions against them, the 13th Finance Commission has recommended, it said.

The recommendations also urge to bring all municipal corporations, municipalities and district panchayats under the proposed anti-corruption body.

Only if a law is formed and a notification issued thereafter, will it be understood that the condition is met, according to the recommendation.

The state government has attempted to amend the Lokayukta Act based on the recommendations and suggestions of the 13th Finance Commission, the release said.

The Gujarat Assembly had on March 30, 2011, passed an amended Lokayukta Bill which was returned by the Governor suggesting that a single Lokayukta would not be able to probe the charges against many officials and called for appointing a multi-member body, it said.

The state had yesterday announced its intentions to introduce a new Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013 in the ongoing session of the Assembly.

The new bill, on its enactment, would replace the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1989.

As per the provisions of the new bill, for the first time, Chief Minister of the state has been brought within the purview of the Lokayukta at par with other ministers.

The proposal also said that the Lokayukta Aayog would be made into a multi-member institution with one Lokayukta and upto four Up-lokayuktas.

Opposition parties like the Congress and GPP have opposed the new bill arguing it was a delaying tactic.

PTI