New Lokayukta Bill tabled in Uttarakhand Assembly

The bill, which replaces Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act passed by the state Assembly during the previous BJP government headed by Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, was tabled by Parliamentary Affairs minister Indira Hridayesh even as opposition members rose in protest questioning its justification. As the Leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt began speaking against the new bill, contending that there was no justification for it when a Lokayukta Act was already in force, he was joined in by other members who held that the Act could have been amended instead of being replaced by an entirely new bill. However, Hridayesh tabled the new bill amid prevailing din as opposition members threw around copies of the bill in the House. According to the new Lokayukta Bill, the Lokayukta will be created in the state and headed by a practicing or retired judge or Chief Justice of the High Court. Besides the head, there will be four members on the panel out of which 50 percent will be from the judiciary and 50 percent from SC/ST/OBC, minorities or women. As per provisions of the legislation, no member of a legislature of any other state or Union territory can be a member of the Lokayukta body. The head of the Lokayukta and its members will be appointed by a five-member selection committee headed by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs and government officials have been brought under the ambit of the Lokayukta.

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