Khanduri Asks Centre to Approve State Lokayukta Bill

Khanduri Asks Centre to Approve State Lokayukta Bill
Terming it as a major achievement of his government, Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri today asked the Centre to give its approval to the much-hyped Lokayukta Bill which was passed unanimously by the state assembly last year.

"The Bill is being held up at the Centre. After the assent of the Governor, the Bill was sent to the President (Pratibha Patil) as the subject falls in the Concurrent List," Khanduri told PTI in an interview.

Significantly, the Lokayukta Bill is one of the major poll planks of the ruling BJP for the January 30 Assembly elections.

Khanduri also said his government has already sent two reminders to the Centre for its early approval.

"It is very unfortunate that such a landmark bill is being stopped by the Centre. If the chief minister is ready to go to the jail (according to the penal provisions for graft cases), what is the problem (of the Centre)? Why are they delaying it?" Khanduri wondered.

In one such reminder, Khanduri said he himself has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the early clearance of the Bill which would help in controlling corruption.

Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar, in a separate reminder, has also sent a similar letter to the Centre for the early approval of the Bill, Khanduri said.

When asked about the reasons for the Central government delaying the Bill, Khanduri said it was largely due to its tough provisions.

"The Bill drafted by the Centre is in much diluted form as compared to the one we have passed," he said.

The chief minister also lamented that there was no time limit for such delays.

One such bill of the Gujarat government has remained pending for clearance by the Centre for the last 7-8 years, Khanduri claimed.

On November 1 last year, the Uttarakhand Assembly passed the Lokayukta Bill which brings in its net the post of Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs and government servants including IAS and IPS officers with a provision of life imprisonment or more severe punishment for graft cases.

Khanduri, who took inspiration from the Anna Hazare movement, said the Bill will go a long way in the fight against corruption.

On November 3, Governor Margaret Alva gave her assent and lauded it also. Soon after being sworn in on September 11 last year, Khanduri had vowed to set up a stronger Lokayukta within two months.

After the completion of investigation in any graft case, the Lokayukta shall have the power to recommend punishment, dismissal, removal or reduction in rank against government servants.

The recommendation shall be binding on the appointing or disciplinary authority of the government.
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