Parrikar assures Lokayukta amendments as Guv returns Bill

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 18 April 2013 15:50 IST

As Goa Governor has sent the controversial Lokayukta amendment bill back to the Assembly for reconsideration, chief minister Manohar Parrikar has agreed to change the controversial clauses in this Assembly session itself.

“I have already raised the notice in this regard and the amendments, as suggested by the Governor, would be introduced in this session itself,” Parrikar told the House today.

Speaker Rajendra Arlekar informed the House that Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo had sent the Lokayukta amendment bill back to the Assembly for reconsideration.

After the bill was passed in the winter session in February, Parrikar had to face the ire of the media as well as civil society and the governor was requested not to give his assent to the bill.

The opposition Congress, which had not objected to the controversial clauses earlier, sided the civil society to oppose those clauses.

As read out by the Speaker, the Governor has requested the Goa Assembly to reconsider the clauses pertaining to ‘deemed rejection’ and ‘penalising the complainant up to Rs 10 lakh.’

“I have no problem to changing it to deemed acceptance and also to reduce the fine, but I will not agree to delete the clause of fining the complainant for a false, frivolous or vexatious complaint”, Parrikar told, after the session today.

The amendments made in the winter session were actually brought on the lines of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, but little changes in the words had changed the meaning of even the Karnataka act completely.

The Karnataka Lokayukta Act has a provision that if the competent authority (Governor or Chief Minister) does not decide about the Lokayukta report against any ‘corrupt’ minister within three months, then it would be considered as ‘deemed accepted.’

While introducing this clause in Goa Lokayukta Act, Parrikar had changed the word ‘deemed accepted’ to ‘deemed rejected’, which meant that the whole probe by Lokayukta would go waste as the Lokayukta report could be automatically rejected within three months by the Governor or the Chief Minister.

The second provision in the Karnataka act was that the minister, if found guilty, shall resign. Goa changed it to ‘may resign’, making it optional to step down even if the minister or the chief minister was proved to be guilty by Lokayukta.

The third amendment was regarding recovering costs/compensation from the complainant for false or vexatious complaint.

The original provision of recovering the costs/compensation from the complainant up to Rs 10,000, was amended to ‘between Rs one lakh to Rs 10 lakh’.

He also introduced yet another provision of “Offence and Penalty”, making false, frivolous or vexatious complaint a offence for punishment of six months and a fine between Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh.

As the media exposed this sinister design to protect the corrupt and terrorise the complainant with heavy fees, fines and imprisonment, the India Against Corruption made a hue and cry over it. Other parties also joined in.

Parrikar, who had swept Assembly poll on anti-corruption wave, had to then surrender to the civil society and the media, assuring them to revert back to the original amendments on the lines of Karnataka Lokayukta Act and drop the objectionable clauses.

During the public debates, Parrikar had also agreed to hike the costs/compensation of a public functionary (government officer, MLA, minister or chief minister), which was retained at only Rs 10,000, if the corruption charges were proved.

It is not known whether he would stick to his public assurance to drop all objectionable clauses (except punishment for false complaint) or reconsider only two clauses suggested by the Governor. 

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