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Withhold assent to Odisha Lokayukta Bill, OLA appeals to Governor

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Mar 1:

A six-member delegation of the Odisha Lokayukta Abhiyan (OLA) today met the Governor Dr SC Jamir and submitted a memorandum appealing to him not to give assent to the Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 on grounds of repugnancies in the Bill vis -a- vis the Central Lokpal and Lokayukta act 2013.

Dr SC jamir, Governor, Odisha
Dr SC jamir, Governor, Odisha

Senior Journalist Rabi Das, former minister Panchanan Kanungo, Advocate Khirod Rout, Col. Biseshwar Rout, Debendra Sutar (OLA, Cuttack) and Sandeep Kumar Pattnaik (OLA, Bhubaneswar) were part of the delegation.

Stating that Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 is not in conformity with the Central Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013  in crucial aspects, the signatories to the memorandum have requested the Governor to withhold his assent and  reserve it for consideration of the President under Article 200 of the Constitution.

The major issue raised in the memorandum relates to the autonomy of the Vigilance department. It says , ” it was expected that the Odisha Lokayukta Bill, in line with the Central Act, would provide for the appointment of Director Vigilance on the recommendation of a 3-Member Committee comprising Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of High Court, and for the appointment of other Officers and employees of the Directorate including the Director Prosecution in consultation with the Director Vigilance and after obtaining the approval of the Lokayukta. It was further expected that there being no such laws in Odisha as DSPE Act 1946 or CVC Act 2003 which regulate the functioning of CBI, the Directorate of Vigilance, Odisha after being freed from the governmental control, should come under the freshly instituted Lokayukta as its reporting authority, while enjoying the much warranted functional autonomy and independence in its day-to-day matters.”

The memorandum also says Odisha Lokayukta Bill has ignored some enabling provisions which have been made in the Central Act for ensuring impartial and effective inquiry, investigation and as well prosecution to be conducted by the prime anti-corruption agency.

Members of the Odisha Lokayukta Abhiyan alleged that the state government had deliberately ignored the civil society while formulating the provisions of the Lokayukta Bill and avoided consultations in order to push their agenda aimed at defeating the very purpose of the institution of the Lokayukta- prevention of corruption at high places.

( The complete text of the memorandum is available in the Civil Society section of odishasuntimes.com)