Bhubaneswar, Jan 22:
With the state government all set to introduce a Lokayukta bill in the ensuing session of state Assembly, former PCC President Niranjan Patnaik today exhorted all opposition political parties and civil society groups to arrive at a united approach vis a vis the proposed Lokayukta Act and ensure the Lokayaukta institution becomes an effective institution with the state Vigilance wing under its direct control.
Expressing apprehension that the state government may try to push through a weak legislation to hoodwink the people by taking advantage of the lack of coherence in the approach of opposition parties and civil society groups, Patnaik said they have to work towards an ‘issue-based unity’ to stop the ‘evil designs’ of Naveen Patnaik.
The senior Congress leader today expressed happiness over the decision of the government to abandon the ill-advised move of rushing through such an important law within the unrealistic time-frame of one month.
It is to be noted that the former PCC chief had written a letter to chief minister on January 3 demanding that the proposed bill should be placed in the public domain for a threadbare discussion on its provisions.
Reiterating his earlier demand that the state Vigilance be brought under the control of the Lokayukta, Niranjan Patnaik said in the existing Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 also the Chief Minister and the other ministers come under the purview of the Lokpal and nothing will be gained if the same provision is restated in a new law using a slightly different language and nomenclature.
“The state government has a unique opportunity to walk the talk and make the law credible by entrusting the Lokayukta with real teeth in the like manner that the Central Government has done in the Lokpal Act, 2013 by placing the CBI under the Lokpal. If the Lokayukta has no investigating agency under it, hardly can the proposed institution deliver,” said Patnaik.
“We have seen how a Lokpal with powers only to make recommendations performed since 1995. Do we need more of the same? We do not need a Lokayukta at Tax-payer’s expense, if it is to become a ceremonial chair for rehabilitation of retired Judges and civil servants. The Lokayukta’s recommendations will be ignored by the executive as it happened in the Vedanta Land acquisition case,” the Congress leader said.