The controversial Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill passed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as the state’s chief minister last year is yet to get a green signal from the Ministry of Law, but has passed the home ministry’s test.
The Bill, which had become a flashpoint between former Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal and the Modi government was returned by the former in September 2013 as it gave all the powers to appoint a Lokayukta to a panel headed by the CM. The diluted Bill was, however, passed by the assembly in October and is now awaiting the President’s nod to become an Act.
“After the assembly passed the bill, we had invited comments from all the stakeholders, but barring Ministry of Law we have got response from all ministries. All have given a favourable response but till we get Law ministry’s reply we cannot send it to the President for assent,” said a senior official.
According to the Bill, apart from the CM who would be the chairperson of the selection committee, Speaker of the Assembly, a minister nominated by the CM, Leader of the Opposition and Vigilance Commissioner would be the other members. The Bill also proposes that the selection committee comprise “one judge of the High Court of Gujarat, to be nominated by the Chief Justice of the HC in consultation with the collegium of five senior judges.”
It said the Lokayukta Aayog would be a multi-member body as it will have four up-Lokayuktas. Barring the council of ministers, all public functionaries and office bearers would come under the Lokayukta Aayog. The bill also has a provision wherein the state will have the power to exclude any ‘public functionary’ from Lokayukta’s jurisdiction.