Fulfilling Rahul Gandhi’s deadline on enacting Lokayukta Acts by the Congress-ruled states, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Wednesday introduced a bill in the assembly proposing a multi-member Lokayukta institution to deal with complaints of corruption more effectively in the state.
Rahul Gandhi had set-out a time frame for Chief Ministers to pass Lokayukta acts by February end.
The new Lokayukta bill, framed on the lines of the Lokpal Bill passed by the Parliament, however does not have powers to take suo-moto action in the cases of corruption and misuse of powers by the public servants. The Lokayukta will not entertain any complaint against the public servants, if it’s not accompanied by an affidavit.
Chief Minister, ministers, MLAs, Chairpersons and vice-chairmen of Boards and corporations, all public servants, officers of the boards and corporations, Vice-chancellors and Pro-VCs of the universities have been brought under the purview of the new law for investigation any corruption complaint.
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The Lokayukta will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of the High Court.
The Lokayukta, for the first-time ,will have a separate inquiry and prosecution wings headed by two directors –not below the rank of additional secretaries hold inquires against the public servants accused of corruption and thereafter launch prosecution in the special courts, to be set-up later under the provisions of the Act.
The Lokayukta will have powers to get preliminary inquiries done and even initiate full fledged investigations, if there is a prime facie case to proceed .
During the BJP regime, the government had enacted a separate act to empower itself to confiscate the assets of the corrupt persons, convicted by the courts but the Lokayukta makes provisions will the act to confiscate the properties and get receipts and benefits of it .
The government proposes to set-up special courts for trials against the corrupt persons ,whose cases will be investigated by the Lokayukta. The institution will have powers to recommend transfers and suspension of the accused public servants.
The bill proposes that the Lokayukta, on receipt of complaint, will complete preliminary inquiry within 90 days. It further says that in case the Lokayukta decides to proceed to investigate into the complaint, it shall direct any agency to carry out the investigation and it will be completed within six months.
The public servants will be required to declare their assets and liabilities by July 31 every year .
The filing of the false and frivolous complaints against the public servants have been made a punishable act with a minimum imprisonment of one year and a fine of Rs one lakh.
The bill replaces one already passed by the BJP government in 2012 but later withdrawn by the state’s congress government before it could get assent of the president of India.