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Kerela Assembly passes Lokayukta Amendment Bill

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    9th Sep, 2022

Context

Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022, has been passed by the State’s legislature, amid a boycott led by the opposition.

Background

  • The term Lokpal and Lokayukta were coinedby  M. Singhvi.
  • In 1966, the First Administrative Reforms Commission recommended the setting up of two independent authorities- at the central and state level, to look into complaints against public functionaries, including MPs.
  • In 2005, the Second Administrative Reforms Commissionchaired by VeerappaMoily also recommended that the office of Lokpal should be established without delay.
  • In some states, Lokayuktas were already functioning when the 2013 Act was passed.
  • Most states, however, are without a Lokayukta even after the 2013 Act.

About

Key-highlight of the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022:

  • public servant has to vacate officeif directed by the Lokayukta.
  • The amendment Bill has made the Legislative Assembly the competent authorityto review an indicting report against the Chief Minister.
  • In the case of legislators, the competent authority will be the House Speaker.
  • The competent authority can now either reject or accept the ombudsman’s report.
  • If a Lokayukta report indicts a cabinet minister, the Bill vests the reviewing authority in the Chief Minister.
  • The Bill exempts political leaders from the purview of the Act.
  • The Bill allows for retired High Court judges to be appointed Lokayukta.

Who are the Lokayuktas?

  • The Lokayuktas are the state equivalents of the Lokpal at the centre.
  • These institutions are statutory bodieswithout any constitutional status.
  • Role: States have to establish the Lokayukta to deal with complaints of corruption against certain public functionaries in the states.
  • The Supreme Court has also directed for states to take steps for the appointment of Lokayukta.

Formation of Lokayukta:

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act delegates the power to States to establish by law the Lokayukta to deal with complaints relating to corruption against public functionaries.
  • The Lokayukta is appointed by the Governor of the State.
  • At the time of appointment, the Governor, generally,consults the Chief Justice of the State High Court, and the Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly.
  • The structure of Lokayukta does not follow a uniform pattern in all the states.
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