Kerela Assembly passes Lokayukta Amendment Bill
Polity & Governance
9th Sep, 2022
Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022, has been passed by the State’s legislature, amid a boycott led by the opposition.
- 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.
Key-highlight of the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022:
- A 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.