State to give more teeth to Lokayukta

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to revamp it and bring it on par with Karnataka’s Lokayukta

Where former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan failed, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis aims to succeed. The newly sworn in BJP CM has decided to add more teeth to the existing Lokayukta, as envisioned in the Central act Lokpal Act 2013 - passed at the instance of noted social crusader Anna Hazare.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is welcomed on his arrival at Nagpur on Sunday, where he spoke about the institution. Pic/PTI
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is welcomed on his arrival at Nagpur on Sunday, where he spoke about the institution. Pic/PTI

Despite his party's decision, Chavan failed to introduce Lokayukta in a new format on the lines of the Centre’s Lokpal Act. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Congress-ruled state, chaired by AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi. Though Gandhi had directed his party CMs to introduce the Lokayukta in their states, on the lines of the Centre’s Lokpal Act before February end this year, Maharashtra refrained from doing so.

No step was taken to introduce an amendment bill to strengthen the existing state act, nor a proposal to repeal it, or a resolution introduced in state legislature to implement it. Clearly, the Congress-led state government ignored directives given by its party high command. Now after Fadnavis' statement about revamping Lokayukta made at Nagpur on Sunday, the state administration has swung into action.

Sources said besides preparing a draft for the CM, a proposal for the state cabinet was being readied. The state administration has also studied a private member's bill introduced by Fadnavis in 2011 as a BJP member. The bill had provisions similar to Lokayukta in Karnataka that enjoys powers to investigate and prosecute a public servant found to be indulging in corruption.

It is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country. The Karnataka Lokayukta has a separate wing with officers from the state police to investigate and prosecute public servants found guilty.

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