Lokayukta Bill likely to be tabled on Dec 5

PATNA: During the weeklong winter session of the Bihar legislature beginning December 2, some important bills are to be tabled and one of them is the much-talked about Lokayukta Bill, which is expected to be moved on December 5.

Ignoring its criticism by Team Anna, the bill’s draft will be finalized after a brainstorming all-party meeting on Saturday. Sources said CM Nitish Kumar and his team will work for two days to finalize the draft before it is tabled in the state assembly.

Much before the bill was finally drafted, it generated curiosity and criticism as Team Anna bitterly criticized some of its provisions and called it a near replica of the Centre’s draft Lokpal Bill. The outlines of the Bihar Lokayukta Bill had been posted on the state government’s website over a fortnight ago to seek suggestions and opinions from individuals and groups.

The general administration department received 140 suggestions between November 9-22 and most of them came through e-mail. Almost all have suggested the need for a strong Lokayukta while some are against bringing chief minister in its ambit. Former CM Jagannath Mishra, in his suggestion, has favoured bringing NGOs and other institutions under the Lokayukta.

CM Nitish Kumar, who rejected Team Ann’s criticism, is firm on keeping the office of the CM in Lokayukta’s ambit. “CM will remain under Lokayukta, this is final,” said Nitish and added that people in general are in favour of a strong Lokayukta as they want to eradicate corruption. “Our policy is zero tolerance on corruption,” he said.

Sources said some people have suggested incorporating all the points of Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal draft, while some others have given suggestions on the appointment and removal of Lokayukta and disposal of cases at earliest. The Bihar Lokayukta Bill draft has a provision for separate police force at the disposal of Lokayukta to arrest the culprits.

Reacting to criticism of the draft bill, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi rejected the apprehension of opposition parties on the appointment of Lokayukta and other members. He said the appointment would be made by a seven-member committee, with CM and a minister nominated by him from the government side and five members from different other fields. Two judges on the committee will be nominated by the Patna high court. The Lokayukta cannot be removed by the government; only the governor can recommend his removal to the Supreme Court.

Source: TOI

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