Lokayukta Bill goes to House today

Incorporates strong provisions like the Uttarakhand Bill,says Himachal CM

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: April 4, 2012 12:24:38 am

Incorporates strong provisions like the Uttarakhand Bill,says Himachal CM

Himachal Pradesh cabinet today cleared Lokayukta Bill 2012,proposing fresh changes in the original draft to accommodate certain provisions of the Uttarakhand law and suggestions by state Lokayukta Justice L S Panta, a retired Supreme Court judge.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is set to introduce the bill in the state Assembly tomorrow and propose that it be passed by the House before the last day of the session on April 6. He held deliberations on major provisions in the law and briefed ministers about the Bill being the best to deal with corruption. It covers the office of the chief minister,speaker and cabinet ministers among others.

“The Uttarakhand Bill — which is still awaiting the approval of the President of India — is undoubtedly a strong law but the draft prepared by the state’s home department after detailed discussions with legal luminaries is perhaps stronger in several contexts. We want the House to debate its provisions,and pass the bill,” a senior minister told The Indian Express.

The cabinet,especially convened to give approval to the draft,also considered the Uttarakhand Bill and compared it closely to some of the strong provisions in the Himachal Bill.

Team Anna had yesterday accused the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh of drafting a weak law and not following the draft adopted by its own government in Uttarakhand.

Today,Principal Secretary (Home) P C Dhiman placed on record the views expressed by Team Anna and also a detailed note sent by Lokayukta Justice (Retd) Panta.

Some of the significant changes in the Bill include grant of suo motu powers to the Lokayukta,taking action on corruption complaints and making the institution a three-member body instead of a one-man commission. The Lokayukta will have an independent investigating agency,a separate prosecution wing,and special courts for time-bound trial.

The draft Bill,available for citizens to send their comments,got a response from only two people. “The cabinet considered those suggestions too,” said an official.

In the cabinet meeting,the government also discussed a counter-strategy to deal with the Opposition’s attack on the Bill after Team Anna had rejected the Bill claiming that the state government had kept the institution under its control. The Congress is expected to oppose the Bill and scuttle the BJP government’s move to take political credit for passing the Bill before the Assembly elections.

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