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Second ARC recommends National Lokayukta

The second ARC recommends a National Lokayukta that covers CMs but not the prime minister, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2007 04:37 IST

The demand for a Lokayukta from a reforms commission returned to haunt India’s political class on Monday.

The second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) on Monday recommended a National Lokayukta that covers chief ministers but not the prime minister and withdraws the constitutional immunity to legislators for corrupt acts committed in connection with their duties in the legislature.

The ARC has also recommended abolition of MP and MLA Local Area Development scheme. It violates the separation of power between the executive and legislature and leads to conflict of interests.

The commission has also recommended a series of initiatives to make it easier to remove public servants, forfeit property of the corrupt, protect whistleblowers, make public servants liable to pay damages to citizens or the state due to corrupt practices and redefine 'corruption' to introduce a concept of 'collusive bribery'.

Under this, if it is established that public interest suffered because of an act of a public servant, it shall be presumed that the public servant and the beneficiary committed an offence of 'collusive bribery'; the punishment should be double that of other cases of bribery.

"We have recommended constitution of a Rashtriya Lokayukta to cover central ministers, chief ministers and MPs," Moily said, reiterating a recommendation also made 40 years ago by the first ARC chaired by Morarji Desai but never implemented. Last year, a cabinet proposal to enact the law was held up over differences on keeping the prime minister in or out of its purview.

Moily’s commission has veered in favour of keeping the Prime Minister out. "The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, and on his survival, depends the survival of the Government.

If the Prime Minister’s conduct is open to formal scrutiny by extra-Parliamentary authorities, then the government's viability is eroded and Parliament's supremacy is in jeopardy," the 263-page report, “Ethics in Governance”, noted.

A significant recommendation aimed at hitting out at corruption within the government is a constitutional amendment to delete Articles 310 and 311; provisions originally aimed at protecting the bureaucracy from arbitrary action but have since then made it very difficult to remove corrupt bureaucrats.

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First Published: Feb 12, 2007 22:21 IST