The state government on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to put an effective Lokayukta system in place by giving power to the ombudsman to punish for contempt.
The bill focuses on making the Lokayukta system more effective, besides making the ombudsman one-member body.
Introducing the bill, chief minister Virbhadra Singh said that the state was committed to zero tolerance against corruption bill seeks to establish a more effective mechanism to receive complaints relating to allegations of corruption against public functionaries, including the chief minister, ministers, MLAs and public servants.
He said that it was expedient to re-enact the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act and repealing the existing Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act of 1983 and provide establishment of independent and autonomous Himachal Lokayukta on the analogy of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, enacted by the central government.
Before the bill was introduced, the assembly withdrew the Lokayukta bill, which was introduced in the Budget session in February this year.
The chief minister said in the Central Lokpal and Lokayuktas there was no provision of power to punish for contempt.
As per the new bill, Lokayukta jurisdiction would cover all categories of officials, who have served with the affairs of the state. Even the former chief ministers and members of the legislative assembly would come within its purview.
The Lokayukta will constitute an inquiry wing, headed by the director of inquiry, for conducting preliminary probe into any offence committed by a public servant.
The bill gives powers to the ombudsman to conduct search and seize documents and provisional attachment of assets as well empowering the Lokayukta to recommend transfer or suspension of the public servant facing corruption charges.