Himachal Pradesh assembly on Friday adopted the Lokayukta bill in the absence of opposition Congress with a voice vote and brief discussion in the House before it was adjourned sine die.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, replying to the debate, said the state bill 'was more strong and constitutional than Uttarakhand's Lokayukta Bill'.
"That (Uttarakhand) bill has not so far been accorded assent by the President due to some legal hitches, but our bill is in full concurrence with the Constitution and comprehensive and implementable," Dhumal asserted.
He said the bill has provision for powers of contempt of court on par with the high court by incorporating a new clause.
"The Lokayukta shall have and exercise the same
jurisdiction, powers and authority in respect of contempt as a high court has and may exercise, and, for this purpose, the provisions of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, shall have the effect subject to the
modification that the references therein to a high court shall be construed as including a reference to the Himachal Lokayukta," says the clause.
The bill was introduced in the assembly on Wednesday to put an effective Lokayukta system in place by giving more power to the ombudsman. The Lokayukta would be a three-member body with Lokayukta and two Uplakayukta and haring its persecution and investigation wings.
The passed bill would also repeal the HP Lokayukta Act, 1983, incorporating a number of new sections and provisions.
Before the bill was introduced, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal criticised the Himachal bill, saying it was 'very weak and ineffective'. He asked the state to follow the Uttarakhand system of Lokayukta.