TN Assembly passes Lokayukta Bill as DMK stages walkout

TN Assembly passes Lokayukta Bill as DMK stages walkout

A view of the TN Assembly, at Fort ST George in Chennai. (pic for representation only)

Tamil Nadu will have a Lokayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman, for the first time in its history after the Assembly passed the Lokayukta Bill, 2018, amid a walkout by the DMK which called the legislation “toothless.”

The Bill, introduced on Monday morning, was passed in the evening through a voice vote. Replying to the debate, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Minister D Jayakumar said the Office of the Chief Minister would also come under the purview of the Lokayukta.

The Bill envisages setting up of the body with a chairperson, a judge of the high court or a person with 25 years of experience in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance and law, besides four members, two of whom would be judicial members.

The jurisdiction of the Lokayukta would cover serving and former ministers, sitting or ex-MLAs and state government employees. In the Statement of Objects and Reasons, Jayakumar said the Centre had earlier enacted the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, which provides for setting up the office of Lokayukta in every state.

“Accordingly, the government has decided to establish the Lokayukta for the state of Tamil Nadu to inquire into allegations of corruption against public servants,” he said.

The Bill also paves the way for imposition of Rs 1 lakh as fine on those who make any false and frivolous or vexatious complaint under the law.

The Bill also says the governor will make the appointment of the chairpersons and members, on the recommendations of the selection committee comprising chief minister (chairperson), Speaker of the Assembly (member) and leader of the Opposition (member).

Calling the bill “toothless”, Opposition Leader M K Stalin staged a walkout along with his party MLAs after the government rejected the demand to send the legislation to a select committee for further study.

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