Lokayukta Bill mockery of judicial process: Governor

Governor Kamla Beniwal has said that the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013,which she returned last week,gave absolute powers to the Chief Minister

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: September 4, 2013 2:19:16 am

Governor Kamla Beniwal has said that the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013,which she returned last week,gave absolute powers to the Chief Minister and council of ministers,and under the new definition,the Lokayukta would be like a “caged parrot” and an institution without credibility — a parallel which Justice (retd) R A Mehta drew when he declined to become the Lokayukta last month,even after the Supreme Court cleared his appointment.

Beniwal’s letter,dated August 29,a copy of which is with The Indian Express,said that the new Bill indulges in irrational issues such as “defining a constitutional authority like the Governor” and seeks to downplay the role of the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court in the appointment,dissuade people from filing complaints,and keep the definition of the “competent authority” ambiguous.

Beniwal said that the selection committee suggested under the chairmanship of the CM and comprising the Speaker,a minister nominated by the CM,Leader of Opposition,a judge of the HC and Vigilance Commissioner,would mean that at least four of the six members “will definitely and undoubtedly belong to one political party”.

She has criticised the state government by terming some provisions in the Bill ridiculous and others “mockery of whole judicial process” and said,“The provisions of the proposed Bill has given absolute powers to the CM and the council of minister against whom the Lokayukta is supposed to conduct investigations of the charges of corruption.” The new Bill proposed to repeal the Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986 that gave primacy to the view of the Chief Justice of HC.

“Giving primacy to such public functionaries to decide as to who should be their investigator gives an impression that the Lokayukta to be appointed,would be nothing more than a caged parrot,” she said on the CM’s and council of ministers’ role.

She raised objections on eight counts,including that it was against public welfare,because the clause of imposing a fine of Rs 25,000 and imprisonment for a term of up to six months in case a complaint was found fake,will discourage and threaten the complainant from filing any complaint.

Beniwal,who had earlier rejected Gujarat Lokayukta Bill (amendment) 2011,said that the provision took away the entire jurisdiction of the Lokayukta Aayog to investigate into any complaint by virtue of a notification that might be issued by the state government. Terming provision of submission of investigation report to the state government ridiculous she remarked,“The very provision appears to be ridiculous,because the ultimate power of acceptance of report are with the state government. There is possibility that Cabinet may not accept the report under one excuse of other and may reject it altogether. This is nothing but mockery of the whole judicial process.”

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