Bihar Assembly Passes Lokayukta Amendment Bill

  • The Bihar Assembly recently passed the Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that proposes to punish people filing false cases before the anti- corruption ombudsman body to prevent any waste of time or misuse of the institution.
  • Four other Bills passed by the Assembly during the day are the Bihar Municipality (Amendment) Bill, Bihar Taxation Disputes Resolution Bill, Bihar Civil Court Bill and Bihar Appropriation Excess Expenditure (1984-85) Bill.

Misuse of lokayukta:

  • The proposed legislation has been brought keeping in view the misuse of the Lokayukta institution in false cases.
  • Lokayukta carries out expeditious investigation and prosecution relating to allegations involving corruption against public servants of all grades.
  • It was proposed by the Lokayuktaitelf that there should be a provision for punishing people filing false cases before it.
  • The Lokayukta acts of other States have the provision of punitive action against such erring persons.
  • The Bill proposes that a case against a person filing a false case can be filed in the district court.
  • If the person is found guilty of it or for giving false testimony or filed wrong affidavit, he/she will be sentenced to a jail term of upto three years besides a provision for fine.

Lokayukta:

  • The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
  • Once appointed, Lokayuktacan not be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.
  • Naresh Kadyan moved public interest litigation before High Court and then contempt of court order petition for not appointing Lokayukta in Haryana.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on “Problems of Redressal of Citizen’s Grievances” in 1966.
  • In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ grievances.
  • The Lokayukta, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti Corruption Bureau, mainly helps people publicise corruption among the Politicians and Government Officials.
  • Many acts of the LokAyukta have resulted in criminal or other consequences for those charged.
  • 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, Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Delhi.
  • The Maharashtra Lokayukta is considered the weakest Lokayukta due to lack of powers, staff, funds and an independent investigating agency.
  • On the other hand, the Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.

‘Will dissuade people’:

  • Several members who moved amendments to the Bill were of the view that it will dissuade people from approaching the Lokayukta and will work against whistle blowers who expose corruption.
  • The Bihar Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was tabled by Urban Development and Housing Minister Tarkishore Prasad who said that it proposes recruitment of grade C employees of municipalities at the State-level.
  • It also proposes to introduce ?20,000 fine for permanent encroachment and ?5,000 for temporary encroachment in municipal areas of the state.
  • Bihar Taxation Disputes Resolution Bill, 2021, was tabled for one time tax settlement scheme ‘Samadhan’ in respect of disputes arising out of non clearance of tax dues and penalty imposed prior to July 1, 2017 when Goods and Services Tax was implemented in the country.
  • The State government had brought the scheme thrice in 2015, 2016 and 2019 and 31,177 applications were received for resolution of tax dues amounting to 1127.55 crore under Samadhan scheme in 2019.

SOURCE: THE HINDU ,MINT

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