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Governor signs Lok Ayukta ordinance

  • Published
    9th Feb, 2022
Context

Kerala’s Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, signed the ordinance proposing amendments to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999.

About

Amendments to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999:

  • The government can “either accept or reject the verdict of the Lokayukta, after giving an opportunity of being heard”.
  • Currently, under Section 14 of the Act, a public servant is required to vacate office if directed by the Lokayukta.

 The amendments are being opposed for two reasons:

  • The changes are proposed through an ordinance and hence there was no proper discussions on the matter.
  • It violates the fundamental spirit of the central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

How the Lokayukta Act was originally envisaged?

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
  • These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
  • The law was a result of demands of several decades for stronger anti-corruption laws.
  • They perform the function of an "ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 provides for establishing a Lokpal headed by a Chairperson, who is or has been a Chief Justice of India, or is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfills eligibility criteria as specified.

Ordinance making power:

  • The ordinance making power is the most important legislative power of the President and the Governor. 
  • It has been vested in them to deal with unforeseen or urgent situations.
  • Article 123 of the Constitution grants the President certain law-making powers to promulgate ordinances during the recess of Parliament. These ordinances have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament but are in the nature of temporary laws.
  • Likewise, the Governor of a state can issue ordinances under Article 213 of the Constitution, when the state legislative assembly (or either of the two Houses in states with bicameral legislatures) is not in session.
  • The Constitution permits the central and State governments to make laws when Parliament (or the State Legislature) is not in session.
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