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Apologise for criticising Lokayukta law, Parrikar to Hegde

Panaji, Feb 1 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Friday asked for an apology from Justice Santosh Hegde for the former Karnataka lokayukta's criticism of controversial amendments to Goa's Lokayukta law.

Speaking to reporters at the secretariat here, Parrikar also said that he was willing to take Hegde "head on" in a Lokayukta debate.

"He should apologise for his comments," Parrikar said, a day after Hegde told local newspapers that the controversial amendments to the Goa Lokayukta law amounted to "dilution" of the act.

"Why have the Lokayukta at all," Justice Hegde said, adding that steep fines (to the tune of Rs.1 million) for "frivolous" complaints would also act as a deterrent for genuine complainants.

The amendments, which were passed in the state legislative assembly Thursday, sought hiking of penalty and even imprisonment for filing "false and frivolous complaints".

The amendments also allowed declarations of the Lokayukta to lapse if the chief minister's office does not take cognizance of the same in three months.

"I have respect for Hegde, but he should not be speaking to the media like this as a former Supreme Court judge," said Parrikar, who is already under fire from civil society for diluting the public ombudsman law.