Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill weak, ineffective, says ex-CM BC Khanduri
Chinks within the ruling BJP seem to have started surfacing with veteran party leader BC Khanduri publically terming the Lokayukta Bill - likely to be passed by the state assembly in its Gairsain session starting from December 7 - as “superfluous, weak and ineffective”dehradun Updated: Nov 02, 2017 19:28 IST
Chinks within the ruling BJP seem to have started surfacing with veteran party leader BC Khanduri publically terming the Lokayukta Bill - likely to be passed by the state assembly in its Gairsain session starting from December 7 - as “superfluous, weak and ineffective”.
“The Lokayukta Bill is a highly watered down version of the anti-graft law that was enacted by my government,” he said referring to his second tenure as the chief minister that began just months before the 2012 assembly poll in the hill state.
Speaking to HT on Thursday, Khanduri suggested that if passed, the “weak” Lokayukta Bill would fail to curb corruption.
“It will fail to check corruption because it has been rendered toothless,” Khanduri said, adding the Lokayukta law that was enacted during his rule was stronger in comparison.
“I had brought even myself (chief minister) within the ambit of the anti-graft law besides all public servants, including ministers and bureaucrats” he said.
“Conversely, the Lokayukta Bill tabled by the (Trivendra Singh) Rawat government in the last budget session is a weak law in comparison,” said Khanduri, a former army officer.
Khanduri also described the proposed law as superfluous. “It (proposed law) is redundant because the Lokayukta Bill we brought in had been unanimously passed in the assembly,” said Khanduri, a Lok Sabha member from Pauri.
“It (law passed by the then assembly) was also the only Lokayukta law in the country that was signed and approved by the President of India after being ratified by the Centre.”
The proposed Lokayukta law was referred to the select committee during the assembly session held weeks after the BJP’s win in the state polls. Later, the Rawat government tabled it during the budget session.
Khanduri also questioned the state government’s move to refer the Lokayukta Bill to the panel in question. “Where was the need to refer that Bill to the select committee? Is that panel above the President who had long back signed the Lokayukta Act after it was ratified by the Centre?” the BJP leader asked.
Khanduri alleged that the then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre examined the anti-graft law for several months and ratified it after “failing to find” any loopholes.
“It was later sent to the Congress government in the state,” he said, alleging that what was amazing that then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, instead of enforcing the anti-graft law, put it in abeyance.
Bahuguna joined the BJP just ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“All our (BJP) government needed to do was to enforce the duly passed Lokayukta law,” Khanduri said, adding that he felt “immensely pained” that it (BJP) chose to propose a fresh anti-graft law.
The BJP veteran said he had written to the incumbent chief minister to enforce the duly enacted Lokayukta law soon after he took over. “I am yet to receive a reply,” a miffed Khanduri said.
Darshan Singh Rawat, the chief minister’s media coordinator, said the Lokayukta Bill had yet not been enacted. “It will be debated in the assembly and suggestions made by legislators will be incorporated in the proposed law before it will be passed,” he said.
Recently, the opposition Congress also criticised the state government for introducing a “diluted” Lokayukta Bill.
“It is a weak anti-graft law because it doesn’t permit prosecution of the chief minister, ministers or bureaucrats in graft cases until approval comes from the 2/3rd members of the five-member Lokayukta bench,” Congress legislator Quazi Nizammuddin had told HT.