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Lokayukta Bill toothless, violates constitutional provisions: Dhumal

Shimla: Former Chief Minister PK Dhumal on Thursday termed as "toothless" the Lokayukta Bill introduced in Himachal Pradesh Assembly by the Congress Government and alleged that it violates constitutional provisions.

 Lokayukta Bill toothless, violates constitutional provisions: Dhumal

Former CM PK Dhumal

Talking to mediapersons, Dhumal said the Bill would not get the assent of the President as it contains "controversial provisions", overriding Central Acts including CrPC and it will end up as a futile exercise.

"The bill is an eye-wash and an attempt to gain cheap publicity and the basic process of selection/appointment of the Lokayukta was flawed and lacked transparency and even dilutes the spirit of Article 311 of the Constitution," he said.

"The Bill says that the selection committee can also consider any other person other than the persons recommended by the search committee which raises strong doubts," the Leader of the Opposition said.

Dhumal claimed that the bill passed by the BJP government in 2012, which has now been dumped by the Congress government, had a provision that all the names recommended by the search committee would be posted on the official website for public scrutiny and inviting comments for 15 days.

"Why the government is shying away from making the selection process transparent and was instead leaving space for appointing even a person not considered by the search committee," he asked.

The earlier bill passed by BJP government, had sought to protect the tenure of the incumbent Lokayukta Justice (Rtd) L S Panta till the end of his term but the new bill is silent on it, he said.

Ruling out the possibility of BJP participating in the debate on Lokayukta Bill in the Vidhan Sabha on the last day tomorrow, he said that there was no point in attending the House now.

Dhumal pointed out to another flaw in the grant of prosecution sanctions, which makes the bill toothless to check corruption and said that no time frame has been specified for grant of prosecution sanctions against the public servants indicted by the Lokayukta.

The earlier bill had fixed 120 days for the competent authority, including Chief Minister for granting prosecution sanctions.

He said, "If no sanction is given by the competent authority within 120 days, the Lokayukta was empowered to go ahead as prosecution sanction would be deemed to have been granted against the corrupt persons."

Dhumal cautioned that the bill could also be challenged in the High Court and it may lead to multiple litigation.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh yesterday introduced Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Bill, 2014, in the House seeking to make the ombudsman a multi-member panel, haveing power to conduct searches, seize property and to have independent inquiry and prosecution wings.

The 38-page bill, introduced in the absence of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, brings even the chief minister within its purview. Lokayukta jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants, posted within and outside the state.

From the existing one-member Lokayukta, the bill proposes a provision of a three-member body, comprising a chairperson and a maximum of two members, of which one shall be a judicial person.

PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 21, 2014 08:23:36 IST