Goa activists against Lokayukta Act amendments

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 02, 2013 12:20 hrs

Panaji, Feb 2 (IANS) Activists Saturday asked the Goa governor to seek an explanation from a former judge likely to be state's first Lokayukta on why he suggested "anti-people" amendments in the Lokayukta Act, which allegedly would not curb graft.

The appeal to Governor B.V. Wanchoo by India Against Corruption follows a comment by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who Thursday claimed that Justice (retd) B. Sudarshan Reddy had asked him to include section '16 A' in the act which makes the resignation of a minister indicted for graft a voluntary affair, instead of a mandatory one.

"In event such anti-people and absurd request defeating the purpose and spirit of the Lokayukta legislation was made by (Supreme Court) Justice (retd) B. Sudarshan Reddy, the honourable governor should request him to justify the reasons for such a request," IAC coordinator Valmiki Naik told reporters here.

The Goa assembly Thursday passed the controversial amendments seeking to increase penalty and even imprisonment for those filing "false and frivolous complaints" before the Lokayukta.

The amendments also allow declarations of the Lokayukta to lapse if the Chief Minister's Office does not take cognizance of the same in three months. Another amendment allows ministers indicted of graft to hang on to their posts instead of making their resignation mandatory.

Lawyer and Right to Information activist Aires Rodrigues has now claimed that the people of "Goa now need to know from the person likely to be their Lokayukta the real reasons why he proposed these amendments."

A Lokayukta within 100 days to power was chief minister Manohar Parrikar's biggest promise in the run up to the March 2012 polls.

The law was passed Thursday after almost a year of the promise but the new amendments have dampened the civil society's spirit, which has drawn its battle-lines with the Parrikar-led administration on this ombudsman issue.

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