Himachal Pradesh became the third state in the country after Madhya Pradesh and Bihar to pass a bill in the Vidhan Sabha to keep a tab on corruption by designating special courts for speedy trial and the attachment and confiscation of property amassed through corrupt practices.
The state assembly on Tuesday debated the HP Special Courts (Attachment and Confiscation of Property) Bill, 2011, that was later passed with a voice vote.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, while speaking on the provisions and requirement of the bill, said that it has provision for designating special courts for the speedy trial of corruption and the attachment and confiscation of property that had been amassed by corrupt practices.
Dhumal said the special courts would be presided over by a judicial officer not less than the rank of district and sessions judge for a minimum of three years for the speedy trial of corruption cases.
He said that these special courts would endeavour to speedily dispose off cases of corruption against public servants who have amassed wealth.
The bill also provides that "in case the government is convinced prima facie that a public servant has amassed wealth and properties by committing offence, it may move an application with the special court for the attachment of the properties of the public servant concerned till the final disposal of the case."
The chief minister said that the government had undertaken publicity to invite suggestions from the people online and had also made an appeal through the media.
"It is a move to check corruption in the state," he said, adding that vigilance act would also be made more stringent.
Earlier speaking on the bill, Congress legislator Kuldeep Singh Pathania said that the government should have studied similar bills introduced in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
Nagrota Bagwan Congress MLA GS Bali appreciated the government spirit behind introducing the bill in the Vidhan Sabha. Bali said that bill should also have provision to keep a tab on the properties amassed through corrupt practices in a foreign country and outside the state.
Ghuwarmian Congress MLA Rajesh Dharmani said that it appeared that the government had introduced the bill in a hurry under media pressure. He suggested that the bill should be referred to the select committee of the House.
BJP legislator Suresh Bhardwaj described the bill as historic for the state.
Congress legislator Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that provision for speeding up prosecution sanction should also be ensured.
Later, Speaker Tulsi Ram introduced the bill, which was passed with voice vote.