The Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011, has proposed constitution of a three-member Lokayukta with jurisdiction to probe corruption charges against public servants from the chief minister down to employees of the lowest rung of the administration.
Public servants including the chief minister, ministers, members of the state legislature, officials, employees, companies, NGOs and chairpersons of the various boards and corporations in the state would be within the purview of the Lokayukta, according to the draft bill circulated among the state legislature members and the media in Patna on Monday.
It would require permission of the full bench of Lokayukta to initiate investigation or prosecution against the chief minister, minister and members of the state legislature under sections 16 of the Lokayukta Act while it may inquire into act or conduct of others if such a person
is associated with allegation under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The Lokayukta shall consist of a chairman and two members who would be judicial members appointed by the Governor. They would hold office for a term not exceeeding five years from the date of assuming office or until attainment of 70 years of age, whichever is earlier, the draft bill said.
The Bihar Lokayukta Bill draft also proposed to set up a five-member search committee comprising Bihar legislative council chairman as its convenor, besides Bihar assembly Speaker, two sitting judges of Patna High Court nominated by the chief justice and immediate outgoing Lokayukta as its members to select the chairman and members of the Lokayukta.
The salary, allowances and other conditions of service of the Lokayukta chairperson shall be the same as those of the chief justice of Patna high court and for other members it will be the same as those of a judge of the high court.
It would be charged on the consolidated fund of the state, the draft bill said.
The chairperson or members of the Lokayukta may be removed from office by the Governor on the ground of misbehaviour or incapacity.
As regards its powers, the Lokayukta can, on receipt of complaint or suo moto, initiate action against the public servant accused of corruption.
However, in case of complaint it has to be signed by the complainant or shall bear the thumb mark of the complainant in the event of such a person being illiterate. It should be duly attested by a literate person disclosing details like name and full address of the attesting persons.
The proposed Lokayukta will have a investigation wing of its own but before its team is constituted the state government will make available investigation officers and other staff as may be required.
However, an investigation into corruption charge against a public servant can be made by an investigating officer not below the rank of the deputy superintendent of police or by any other officer of equivalent rank.
The Lokayukta will have a prosecution wing too headed by a director and such other officers and employees in accordance with the state government's existing reservation policy to assist the director.
According to the draft bill, the prosecution director upon direction of the Lokayukta after due inquiry may file a complaint before a special court for prosecution of the public servants in relation to any offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009.
In order to carry out speedy trial of the accused, the Lokayukta may recommend establishment of more special courts for the cases under the mentioned two Acts for consideration of the state government.
The special courts shall ensure completion of each trial within a period of one year from the date of filing of the case.
With regard to whistleblowers, it proposed that the person's identity would be kept confidential and full protection provided to protect him from any physical harm or administrative harassment, the draft added.