The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Monday ratified the draft proposal for amending the state Lokayukta Act, 1983. The provisions in the draft have been based on the Lokpal Bill passed recently by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Intervening during the debate initiated by Himachal Lokhit Party chief Maheshwar Singh on the budget tabled in the house, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday had announced that his government was bringing a “strong Lokayukta Bill to check corruption”.
After the Anna Hazare-led movement in 2011 had raised serious concerns among the various governments in the states regarding the rampant corruption, Himachal Pradesh had introduced a Lokayukta Bill which was somewhat similar to the one drafted by the Uttrakhand government in 2012.
According to the provisions of the Lokayukta Bill passed by the state legislature in 2012, the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta would have the power to initiate suo moto action (on its own) on matters related to allegations of corruption committed by a public servant.
According to this bill, the Lokayukta would have the power to file an appeal against the acquittal order of the Supreme Court.
The state Lokayukta would have a prosecution and investigation wing for the purpose of conducting fair, impartial and transparent investigation.
The draft proposal for the amendment in the persisting act would be based on the Lokpal Bill passed in the Centre in 2013.
According to this bill, a five-member committee would appoint the Lokayukta. An eminent jurist would be one of the members of the Lokayukta, and the governor would be responsible for the appointment of the eminent jurist on the recommendation of the selection panel.
After amendment, non-governmental organisations, other than religious bodies, would come under the perview of the Lokayukta, and bureaucrats under investigation would have the right to state their case.
CAG report approved
The cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of chief minister Virbhadra Singh, also approved the comptroller auditor general (CAG) report. It gave its consent to amend rules to implement the new Town and Country Planning Act.
The previous BJP government had constituted a committee to frame a new act to regulate construction, while the Apartment Act was repealed.
Besides, the cabinet gave a green signal for the creation of one more sub-tehsil in Drang.