Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Lok Ayukta Amendment Row: Congress Requests Yechury's Intervention

"It is vividly clear that this amendment is a shield to guard against any unfavorable decisions from the Lok Ayukta," Satheesan claimed.

Lok Ayukta Amendment Row: Congress Requests Yechury's Intervention
Lok Ayukta Amendment Row: Congress Requests Yechury's Intervention PTI | Manveder Vashist

With Congress seeking CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury's intervention , the political row over the Kerala government's decision to amend the Lok Ayukta Act refused to die down. BJP alleged that the ingenuity of the anti-corruption stand of the left party has been exposed through the move.
Satheesan, who recently requested Governor Arif Mohammed Khan not to give assent to the proposed ordinance amending the decades-old law, wrote to Yechury alleging that the objective of the Vijayan government was to undermine the Lok Ayukta in the state. 
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister V Muraleedharan told reporters here that the Marxist party used to put up stiff resistance against bringing out ordinance by the Centre and their move to amend the Lok Ayukta Act without taking into confidence the state Assembly was in stark contrast to their proclaimed stand in this connection.
In his letter, the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly urged Yechury to recall his own arguments in Rajya Sabha in 2011 and 2013, stressing the need to make the Lok Pal "autonomous, transparent, comprehensive, and independent" of political control. 
"Unfortunately, the proposed ordinance to amend the Kerala Lokayukta Act, 1999 is in stark contradiction to the progressive stance taken by your party and your good self on strengthening Lok Pal/ Lok Ayukta to combat corruption," Satheesan said.
Alleging that the ordinance puts the political morality of the CPI (M) at stake and would reduce the party to mere political rhetoric to "eyewash" the common public, he also said the existing Act, enacted during the erstwhile communist government led by EK Nayanar, had stringent provisions to combat corruption. 
"This amendment literally removes the Lok Ayukta's tooth and nail. It's perplexing how an executive could serve as an appeal authority for a decision made by a former Supreme Court judge or Chief Justice of the High Court," he said.
Charging that the hastiness in bringing this ordinance was "suspicious," the Congress leader said  there seemed to be no other reason except that the Lok Ayukta is about to take up cases against the Chief Minister and the Higher Education Minister. 
Pointing out that the Lok Ayutka was the only tool left to question executive corruption and nepotism and rendering the Lok Ayukta toothless would only serve as a catalyst for corrupt public servants to engage in widespread corruption, he also wanted Yechury to ensure that the state government refrains from moving forward with this "extremely regressive legislation". 

Meanwhile, Muraleedharan took a dig at the Left party saying its leaders, during the time of agitation for Lokpal, had seemed like those having intolerance towards corruption. "They are showing their true colours now. If the Centre brings out an ordinance, it is undemocratic for them... If they themselves bring a similar one in the state, they will say it is a democratic approach," the union minister added.

( With PTI Inputs)