The Uttarakhand Assembly on Tuesday passed the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, 2014 amid a walkout by opposition BJP. The new Bill, modeled on the Centre’s Lokpal was aimed to replace the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act passed by the previous BJP government headed by B C Khanduri.
The BJP had demanded that the Bill be handed over to a select committee, but the Congress-led state government was not ready to do it. After BJP members staged a walkout, the House approved the bill by voice vote.
The Bill was passed after a debate in which Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told the House that the Bill was modeled on the Lokpal. He reminded members that the Parliament had cleared the formal structure of the Lokayukta law. He added that the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act, passed by the BJP government headed by Khanduri, has more imprints of Anna’s team than that of Anna Hazare. “Anna ke kam unke sathiyon ke chhap Jyada hai us bill par,” he said.
Justifying his decision to replace Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act (ULA), Bahuguna said the state needed a new Lokayukta law as the earlier Act could overlap powers of the Assembly. He highlighted suo motu powers given in the ULA as one of the Act’s demerits.
Besides, he said the search committee size with a large number of members, was not practical.
Leader of the Opposition and BJP member Ajay Bhatt questioned the need of replacing the Act passed by the BJP government.
“We are ready to support any amendment in the ULA. This House unanimously passed the ULA. The Act, passed during Khanduri regime, is perfect,” he reminded the House. Bhatt demanded that the Bill be given to a select committee. Later, the BJP members staged a walkout. As per the new Lokayukta Bill, the ULA stands repealed.