Govt drafts Lokpal bill, proposes 3 ombudsmen

Govt drafts Lokpal bill, proposes 3 ombudsmen

Draft bill likely to be placed before consultative panel

Govt drafts Lokpal bill, proposes 3 ombudsmen

The State Law department has drafted a bill on the lines of Lokpal bill, pending approval by the Opposition parties, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra on Wednesday.

Addressing the media in Bengaluru, Jayachandra said that if the new bill is passed, then the Lokayukta institution will have three Lokayuktas, as opposed to the existing one.
The new bill has been drafted in a manner, where the ombudsman will only be empowered to deal with corruption, unlike the existing Lokayukta Act, which also deals with maladministration by State government employees.

If the new bill is okayed, the existing Act will be repealed.
When asked if the Congress government had drafted the bill succumbing to pressure by the IAS officers’ lobby, Jayachandra denied the same.

The minister said that the new bill will be placed before the consultative committee, comprising 30 members, including Opposition party leaders.

“If the Opposition parties give nod to the draft, the bill will be placed before the State Cabinet. Also, if the public opinion favours inclusion of maladministration, that too will be taken into consideration. The government will not go against the public opinion,” added Jayachandra.

He however said that in the name of maladministration, the Lokyukta Act was being misused, with petty charges being levelled against government officials.

Stating that the institution will not be phased out, Jayachandra said that it was a political conspiracy against the Congress government. “There is no thinking in the government to shut down the institution or to bring amendments to the existing Act.”

Meeting convened

The minister said a meeting has been convened on December 8 to select a name for the post of  Upalokayukta (I) in the wake of Governor Vajubhai Vala recently rejecting the government’s recommendation to appoint Justice K L Manjunath to the post. He strongly defended Justice Manjunath, saying that allegations against him surfaced only after his name was recommended for the post. Jayachandra said former upalokayukta (I) Justice S B Majage had submitted sufficient evidences against Upalokayukta (II) Subhash B Adi, whose ouster the Congress MLAs have sought.

When asked why the government was making no attempts to strengthen constitutional bodies like the Human Rights Commission, he said that there were no takers for the post of chairperson of the Commission.

T B Jayachandra, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister: If the Opposition parties give nod to the draft, the bill will be placed before the State Cabinet. Also, if the public opinion favours inclusion of maladministration, that too will be taken into consideration. The government will not go against the public opinion.


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