Odisha Legislative Assembly on 14 February 2014 passed the Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014. The provision of the bill has kept the Chief Minister, ex-Chief Ministers, other ministers and public servants under the purview of the 6-member anti-corruption panel.
The Bill was introduced in the State Assembly of Odisha on 12 February 2014 and it was unanimously passed after a two-day discussion. The bill has similar provisions of Central Act that was passed by the Parliament in December 2013.
This Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 says that people/bodies that receive government grants will come under the purview of the Lokayukta, who has been empowered to probe the graft charges.
It says that the sitting or former High Court judge will be the Chairman of the Lokayukta and the commission would consitst of at least two judicial members. There will be a women or scheduled caste among the other member among three non-judicial members. The Bill has also mentioned that the Lokayukta should be at least 50 years in age.
The selection committee that will chose the Lokayukta will include
• Chief Minister, who will head the committee
• Leader of the Opposition
• Speaker of Odisha assembly
• Chief Justice of Orissa High Court or a judge nominated by him
• An eminent jurist nominated by the Governor
The Governor reserves the power of appointing the Lokayukta but this appointment will be made on the recommendation of the selection committee.
Difference between the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 and Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014
Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995
Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014
This Act was not empowered to attach or confiscate properties of persons or organisations against whom corruption charge was established
Lokayukta investigating into corruption cases will be empowered to attach properties of the guilty for a period of 90 days
For such cases special courts will be set up for trial, the Bill’s provision said that the new Act will give authority to the Lokayukta to recommend the State government to transfer and suspend any public servant found guilty
On receipt of the complaint against any public servant, the Lokayukta may order preliminary inquiry against him/her by his inquiry wing or any other agency to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case for proceeding in the matter. He also reserves the power to superintendence and direction of the agency or investigating agency, which includes crime branch of police or state vigilance
The bill has also granted power to the Lokayukta to constitute an inquiry wing that will be headed by the director of inquiry for the purpose of conducting preliminary inquiry into offence alleged/committed by a public servant, which will be punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) 1988.
Lokayuktas administrative expenses that include salaries, allowances and pensions and others will be charged on the consolidated fund of the state.
The Lokayukta also reserves the right to recommend the state government to constitute a special court to hear and decide the cases that arose out of the PCA 1988 or under Odisha Lokayukta Act 2014. The bill says that the chairman of the panel will hold office for five years from the date he assumes office or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
The Bill doesn’t grants to power to the Lokayukta to inquire complaint made against the Chairperson or any other member and this power has been rested in the hands of the Governor. The governor will have to refer the petition signed by atleast 25 MLAs of to the Orissa High Court before suspending the chairperson or any other member.
Provision of Penalty under the Bill: The Bill says that for making false or playful complaint the person/organisation will be penalized with an imprisonment up to one year with a fine which could be extended up to 1 lakh rupees.
This bill was passed following a three-month deadline that was set by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of the state. Kalpataru Das, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister piloted the Bill on behalf of the Chief Minister. Only five amendments were accepted by the Government of total 60 clauses before it was passed. This passage of the bill had repealed, the Odisha Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 1995.
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