With a motive to strong Lokayukta, Himachal Pradesh government is coming up with new Lokayukta Bill soon in the assembly during this budget session, after nurturing teeth to this lone member body making it multi member to strengthen it soon.
Talking to media, Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur who also holds a portfolio of Law and Legislation in the state said that bill is likely to be introduced in next week in the session as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had already informed the house.
“The draft of bill is under process to be laid on the floor of the house may be on next Monday, could not reveal more facts in light as it would be introduced first in the house.” Mr. Thakur said.
As Chief Minister has stated on the floor of house that strengthening existing framework after giving teeth, Law minister said confirming the development.
The government has taken a move to bring this bill for discussion and ascent of house as it had been reportedly decided in the recent cabinet approving to bring new legislations during this budget session.
Minister said that body is likely to have three members besides having investigating agency but more provisions of bill would become clear after laying of bill in the house.
“This bill was first passed in 1983, when a Lokayukta was appointed in the state to look into the complaints regarding corruption against public servants which should be given more teeth to hear the complaints beside it should have its own investigation wing,” Mr. Thakur claimed.
Government wants to take suggestions of oppositions who is lodging protest after boycotting session had been appealed to join the house ending their prolonged impasse as number of important bill is on the business list to be transacted in the house in last leg of session ending next week .
This hill state is among only eight state in the country who had pioneer in setting up of this body, now would strengthen existing Lokayukta institution after bringing new legislations during this, CM said yesterday while giving reply of budget discussion informing the house to make Lokayukta strong.
“Since the Lokpal has now come at the national level, the state will bring a bill to strengthen the existing Lokayukta,” Chief Minister said.
Interestingly, the previous government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal had, in 2012, passed amendments to the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act of 1983 – in the absence of the opposition Congress in the assembly – to not only give the ombudsman constitutional and comprehensive powers but also contempt of court powers on a par with the high court.
“The bill sent to the president for consent by the previous government has been withdrawn by the present government,” said an official.
The government’s new bill will seek to repeal the existing act and replace it with another to make it more effective in dealing with corruption, said the official.
Supreme court judge Mr. Justice (retd) L.S. Panta is currently heading this institution as state’s Lokayukta.
Now, we want to strengthen the institution of Lokayukta on the analogy of the Lok Pal Act passed by the Parliament of India and we are going to introduce the new Lokayukta Bill in this session of Vidhan Sabha, he added.
An official also added that they have proposed to setup a call center based helpline where citizen can complain about any deficiency in the public services. There will be a single uniform number for the entire state which will be easier for the citizens to remember on the analogy of 108, 100 etc. Complaints from any corner of the state will be directed by this helpline to the concerned departmental officer at the field level for suitable action. Therefore, this help line will work like it has been setup in every district of the state.