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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Maharashtra ready to adopt Anna Hazare’s Lok Ayukta

The state government has decided to bring the new Lok Ayukta bill, as recommended by social activist Anna Hazare, during the winter session which starts in the second week of December.

Chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad has been entrusted the task of consulting senior officials to study the proposals recommended by Team Anna which could be incorporated for an independent and effective functioning of the Lok Ayukta.

Team Anna had lauded the Uttarakhand government's move to pass the Lok Ayukta Act, a copy of which has been given to Maharashtra. The state has also acquired the Karnataka model to study.

"Lok Ayukta already exists in Maharashtra. But its functioning is not effective as it is under the government's control," a Mantralaya official.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar took the initiative in providing more powers to Lok Ayukta. He has assured Hazare that the government will evolve an effective and independent Act through major reforms to tackle the rampant corruption in the administration.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan supported the campaign against corruption. "We are striving to bring transparency in the government's functioning through administrative measures and eradicate corrupt practices," he said.

Some of the significant aspects which the state is looking to incorporate from the Uttarakhand model is empowering Lok Ayukta. To begin with, the state will have to give its nod for bringing the chief minister under the Lok Ayukta bill —Uttarakhand and Karnataka have agreed to this. However, the Centre is under pressure from various states not to bring chief ministers under the Lok Ayukta.

The Lokayukta will function independently. It can inquire suo moto or on a complaint against a public servant and also conduct inquiries. To minimise government control, it has been suggested that the chairman and members of the Lokayukta be appointed by the governor as per recommendation of a selection committee.
The panel’s chairman shall be a person of impeccable integrity and a person of eminence in public life with extraordinary ability and outstanding knowledge of law and judiciary. As per the Uttarakhand Act, the state will have to sanction powers for defining the quantum of punishment if the public servant facing probe into corruption is found guilty. The punishment will not be less than six months and could extend up to 10 years.


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