THE HANS INDIA |
Feb 28,2018 , 03:01 AM IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favouring the "super rich" and questioned why he had still not appointed a Lokpal to fight corruption. The legislation to have an effective Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in all the states -- despite having been passed by Parliament in December 2013 -- has made little headway.
In fact, it was further diluted when in July 2017 it extended for the fifth time the deadline for filing of asset declarations by the nearly 50 lakh central government employees and their spouses, and NGOs receiving government funds. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013, was passed in Lok Sabha on December 18, 2013, after a nationwide anti-corruption movement, India Against Corruption, which was led by prominent social activist Anna Hazare.
The Bill "seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connecting them." It was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 after making certain amendments to the earlier Bill and in the Lok Sabha the next day. It received assent from President Pranab Mukherjee on 1 January 2014 and came into force from 16 January.
The Indian Government is yet to appoint a Lokpal. paving the way for establishment of a Lokpal (Ombudsman) to fight corruption in public offices and ensure accountability on the part of public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards. Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
The Lokayukta ("Appointed by the people’) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states. Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly. Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta through The Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in 1971.
This was followed by similar acts that were enacted by the states of Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and the union territory of Delhi.