Govt drops punishment for false complaints in Lokayukta bill

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 23 April 2013 11:19 IST

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar has proposed to finally delete the whole controversial clause from the Goa Lokayukta bill of penalising the complainant for a false, frivolous and vexatious complaint of corruption against public functionaries.

The draft of the bill circulated, but not yet tabled, states that the Clause 8 of the amendment bill be omitted.

Similarly, Parrikar has also proposed to reduce the costs and compensation to be paid by the complainant, in case of a false and vexatious complaint, from “Rs one lakh to 10 lakh” to “Rs 10,000 to Rs one lakh.”

The bill has also proposed to change the words “deemed rejected” to “deemed accepted” the Lokayukta report, if the Governor or the chief minister sits on it for three months.

The controversial amendment bill, passed in the February session, was sent back by the Governor for reconsideration, following public outcry. The bill was not assented to.

Clause 8 of the Lokayukta amendment bill had proposed insertion of section 19 (A) for Offence and Penalty.

It provided, on conviction, six month imprisonment and a fine up to Rs one lakh if the complaint was proved to have been filed with malafide intention, to malign or tarnish the image or if it is frivolous or vexatious.

Parrikar has now proposed to delete the whole sub-section 19(A).

The amendment bill had also increased the cost or compensation the complainant had to pay for a false or vexatious complaint. It was increased from Rs 10,000 to ‘from Rs one to 10 lakh.”

He has now reverted it back to Rs 10,000, the same amount also proposed to the public functionary, in case he is proved to be corrupt.

Yet another provision was regarding the competent authority (Governor or Chief Minister) accepting or rejecting the Lokayukta’s report about proving corruption charges against the public functionary.

The amendment bill had suggested that if the Governor or the Chief Minister does not decide about the Lokayukta report within three months, it would be “deemed to have been rejected.”

There were protests against this clause since it would ultimately give authority to the Governor or the Chief Minister to get the Lokayukta report automatically rejected and protect the corrupt ministers or other public functionaries.

The new amendment now proposes that the words would be changed to “deemed accepted.”

The only clause Parrikar has not changed, in spite of his public assurance, is that the corrupt minister shall resign.

While importing these provisions from Karnataka Lokayukta act, Parrikar had changed the words “deemed accepted” to “deemed rejected” and in case of ministers – “shall resign” to “may resign”.

The new amendment still says that the corrupt “minister may resign”.

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