Lokayukta bill: Relief & Disappointment for IAC

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 25 April 2013 18:43 IST

India Against Corruption and Goa People’s Front have described the Goa Lokayukta amendments passed by the Goa Legislative Assembly as a “mixed bag of relief and disappointments”.

In a joint press statement, the IAC & GPF have appreciated the ever-vigilant civil society for doggedly pursuing the issue, while also thanking Honourable Governor B. V. Wanchoo for sensitively responding to the public will and referring the bill back to the Assembly for reconsideration.

“It was this assertion of Governor’s Constitutional authority in public interest that set the ball in motion to persuade the legislators to reconsider the Lokayukta legislation to remove its anomalies and strengthen it”, stated Walmiky Naik and Satish Sonak.

The press statement stated as follows: 

The civil society groups, however, wonder why a piecemeal approach by taking up selective amendments is being resorted to when the government could have radically amended the Act by bringing in a comprehensive set of amendments on the lines of Uttarakhand Bill, as promised earlier?

It may be recalled that Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on the request of the CM, had even sent the Goa Government an amendment bill that would bring the Goa Lokayukta Act on the lines of the Uttarakhand Act.

The Lokayukta crusaders have expressed disappointment that the legislators in that sense have not fully appreciated the spirit behind demands made by activists.

Therefore, the IAC and GPF have declared their determination to continue to pursue the following demands, namely:

1. If the declaration of Lokayukta in respect of a Chief Minister or Minister, accepted by the competent authority, the Act now provides that he "may resign"  his office. Goa Act must be amended on the lines of Karnataka Act to make it "shall resign".

2. As regards the report of Lokayukta containing declaration in his report under clause(a) of Sub Section(1) of Section 16 that he is satisfied that a complaint involving an allegation against a public functionary is substantiated and that the public functionary concerned should not continue to hold office held by him, under Section 16(A), it is provided that the Competent authority may either accept or reject such a declaration after giving an opportunity of being heard to the public functionary concerned. 

The IAC and GPF have stated that this is a self-defeating provision and as such it must be mandatory for the Competent Authority to accept the declaration and file a chargesheet right away.

The IAC and GPF, therefore, have been insisting that the appropriate provisions under the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill should be incorporated.

3. The government must bring parity in regard to provision for payment of compensation and costs by complainant to public functionary and vice versa.

After Wednesday's amendments, the public functionary is now eligible for Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 lakh as costs and compensation from complainant towards rejected complaint while for a complaint upheld by Lokayukta, the accused is eligible for Rs. 10,000 only in the principal Act.

This anomaly needs to be amended for restoring parity.

We also place on record our appreciation towards honourable Members of Legislative Assembly Vijay Sardesai and Aleixo Reginald Lourenco for their sincere attempts to voice the aspirations and anxieties of public during the debate on Lokayukta amendment Bill in the House on Wednesday.

Hope this studious approach is emulated by other honourable Members on such issues of public concern in the House.

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