Bahuguna Govt Stalling Lokayukta Act: Khanduri

Bahuguna Govt Stalling Lokayukta Act: Khanduri

Accusing the Uttarakhand government of shying away from implementation of the Lokayukta Act, former Chief Minister B C Khanduri today said the Bahuguna government was out to "stall" the act as it wanted the "corruption industry" in the state to flourish.

Taking exception to Bahuguna citing "constitutional discrepancies" in the Act, Khanduri said it is an excuse to prevent the anti-corruption watchdog from coming into existence in Uttarakhand.

"Terming provisions of the act 'unconstitutional' is an insult to the President.It is a ploy to stall the act so that corruption which has assumed the proportions of an industry in the state could grow unbridled," Khanduri told PTI.

The bill passed unanimously by Uttarakhand Assembly in November 2011 was first scrutinised by the Union Home Ministry and then was approved by the president who chose not to make any changes in it, he noted.

"How can the goverment talk of constitutional discrepancies in the Act despite its going through an elaborate process of scrutiny by legal and constitutional experts at the disposal of the Home Ministry and the President of India," he asked and said it did not behove of a former judge like Bahuguna to see "unconstitutionalities" in an Act which has been approved by the President.

Khanduri during whose tenure in office the bill was unanimously passed by the state assembly said the state government's reluctance to implement the Act only confirms the general perception that it is "steeped in corruption" and does not want the anti-corruption instrument to come into being.

Citing "unconstitutionalities" in the Act, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna recently said it was passed by the previous BJP government in a hurry and there was room for amendments in it.

He said the Act would come up up for discussion at the next meeting of the state cabinet on November 7 when it will be decided whether or not to go ahead with its implementation.

However, he said he was not against its implementation.

"We welcome the enactment of Lokayukta Act but we have reservations about some of its provisions which are unconstitutional and can be amended," Bahuguna said.

Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill drafted on the lines of Anna Hazare's Lokpal Bill was passed unanimously by the state assembly on November 1, 2011 after Khanduri took over the reins of power in the state for a second time in September, 2011.

Given presidential assent after nearly a two year wait, the Lokayukta Act brings under its ambit the chief minister, ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats, former government servants and functionaries of the subordinate judiciary.

It had also taken proper safeguards to prevent the Lokayukta from becoming autocratic by making it a seven member autonomous body with Leader of Opposition, members of the civil society and government functionaries proposed to be on the panel.

Taking a jibe at the Congress government in the state for its reluctance to bring the Act into force, Khanduri said it is only natural for a "corrupt government" to be averse to the implementation of an Act like this whose stringent provisions may boomerang on its own functionaries.

"Bahuguna government has a record of opposing anything done with a benevolent intention.It annulled the transfer policy framed by my government soon after coming to power as its provisions were aimed at stopping the flourishing trade of transfer and posting in the state," the former chief minister said.

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