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Current Affairs

Proposal to limit Lokayukta’s powers

Date: 02 February 2022 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Lokayukta Act will be amended by the Kerala government through an ordinance, drawing criticism from the opposition.

 

Details

  • The existing rule under Section 14 of the Act says that a public servant will have to vacate the office if directed by the Lokayukta.

  • The government will be making an amendment to empower itself to either accept or reject the verdict of the Lokayukta, after giving an opportunity to be heard.

 

Reasons for the proposed changes

  • The Supreme Court has rejected petition by the state government to stay the Lokayukta decision holding CPI (M) leader K T Jaleel guilty of nepotism. 

  • The Lokayukta is investigating similar cases against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Higher Education Minister R Bindu.

 

The Lokpal

  • The law and the institution were established to act against public servants, a definition that includes the Lokpal chairperson and members.

  • The chairperson should be a former/current Chief Justice of India, or is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person.

  • The total members should not exceed eight, 50% should be judicial officers and 50% should belong to SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women.

  • Former Supreme Court Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is the current Lokpal of the country.

 

The equivalent in states

  • Lokayuktas are equivalents of Lokpal in states. They will deal with complaints relating to corruption against certain public functionaries.

  • Lokayuktas were already functioning in some states such as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh before the act came into existence.

  • After the law and the intervention of the Supreme Court, most states have now set up a Lokayukta.

  • The framework has been created but states have been given the autonomy to decide specifics. The powers vary from state to state.