More than a month after it was passed, Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalyan Singh has raised objection on the new Lokayukta Bill that proposes setting-up of a single-member anti-graft institution to deal with the cases of corruption.
On the third day of his office, Singh said, “Certain provisions of the bill are against the spirit of the constitution and it can’t be given assent as such.”
“There are three primary objections to the bill; 1/ the Lokayukta can’t be given power of contempt of court,2/few provisions are against Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)–a central law and 3/ the bill gives powers to the Lokayukta for prosecutions, which again contradicts the central legislation,” he confirmed to reporters.
The Governor said he had forwarded the bill to the President of India for an appropriate action.
The objections raised by him are likely to cause a blow to the government’s move to replace the old law enacted in 1983 with the state Lokayukta.
The state Lokayukta is currently headed by Justice (Rtd) L S Panta, a retired SC judge,who also briefly headed National Green Tribunal before he quit to take-up assignment in the home state—where he had also served as High Court judge.
The Bill confers powers on the ombudsman to conduct search and seize documents and provisional attachment of assets.
It will also empower the Lokayukta to recommend transfer or suspension of public servant facing allegations of corruption.
The office of Chief Minister, former cabinet ministers and MLAs have also been brought under its purview. The government, first time, had given the powers of contempt of court to the Anti-graft ombudsman.