Controversial Lokayukta amendments passed

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 31 January 2013 23:49 IST

The controversial Lokayukta amendment bill was passed today by the Assembly with one-sided vote of ruling party members.

The opposition Congress staged a walkout, but by opposing only on the issue of reducing the penalty for filing a false complaint, but supporting the bill in principle.

The bill basically allows heavy penalty for filing false and frivolous complaint and empowering competent authorities like the Governor and the Chief Minister to allow to reject the Lokayukta report on a corrupt public functionary like the MLA, the minister or the Chief Minister.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar justified the amendment while revealing that he has brought it on a suggestion made by retired supreme court justice B Sudarshan Reddy to include the clause in Karnataka Lokayukta act.

The only change made in the clause is to change the clause in Karnataka act, said Parrikar, is to change the deemed provision of ‘accepting’ to ‘rejecting’ the Lokayukta report, if the competent authority does not act on Lokayukta report within three months.

The Karnataka act provides for ‘deemed to have been accepted’ the report of Lokayukta of finding a public functionary corrupt if the competent authority does not act it within three months.

The Goa Lokayukta amendment bill has changed it to ‘deemed to have been rejected’ if the competent authority does not act it within three months.

In simple, what it means is that if the chief minister does not act on the Lokayukta report of finding any minister proved to be corrupt (or if the governor in case of the chief minister or MLA to be corrupt), within three months, the report automatically gets rejected.

“I have changed it since the governors in the past have acted at the behest of the central government since they are political appointees”, Parrikar told the House.

He also said assertively that the clause that “a public functionary like the MLA, the minister or the chief minister MAY resign” has been inserted because ‘shall resign’ is completely unconstitutional.

“Even Karnataka Lokayukta act has a provision of ‘may’ and not ‘shall”, claimed Parrikar.

Opposition leader Pratapsing Rane as well as his son Vishwajeet opposed only the provision of imposing a heavy fine of lakhs of rupees on the complainant is his/her complaint is found to be false, malafide or frivolous.

“We support the bill, but the fine should be as low as one rupee”, said Rane and staged a walkout with few colleagues of Congress present in the House, when the chief minister did not agree.

Parrikar also clamped down upon the media for criticizing the amendments without studying the issue wholly and fully.

“The media is behaving like illiterates”, quipped Parrikar repeatedly.

He also said he would drop the clause of filing false complainants if media does not report about it until the investigation is complete. 

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