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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

VPP move seeking changes to Lokayukta Bill rejected by voice vote in Assembly

Shillong, Feb 20: A motion moved by opposition legislator from the VPP party Adelbert Nongrum seeking an amendment to the current Lokayukta Bill in the state, citing dilution of its powers by the state, has been defeated by a voice vote on the floor the house on Tuesday.

“The No’s have it, the motion is not carried and leave to introduce the Bill is not granted. The Bill is therefore rejected by the House,” Assembly Speaker Thomas A Sangma said after the Bill was put to vote.

The VPP legislator had moved the motion seeking changes on the grounds that the amendment made to the Lokayukta Act, 2021 had diluted the effective functioning of Lokayukta in the state because radical changes to the strength of Lokayukta members and composition of judicial benches were made effectively weakening its position and powers.

“By allowing option of a single member body of just the chairperson alone, and without the mandatory appointment of judicial member(s) in what is a statutorily a judicial body, and to hear and decide cases of corruption by a single member bench, the Amendment Act of 2021 has practically weakened the role of the Lokayukta in the state,” he said.

He alleged that the present Meghalaya Lokayukta Act has been robbed of the essential provisions which flowed from the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of Parliament, and mirrored not just the objective but the provisions as well.

Nongrum said that his Private Members’ Bill seeks to protect and strengthen the institution of Lokayukta in the state, so as to effectively deal with rising cases of corruption by public functionaries, to re-enact the essential provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, that were deleted and substituted by the Amendment Act of 2021 and to amend the existing Meghalaya Lokayukta Act for giving it more teeth and more effectiveness that it deserves.

“Therefore, I seek to introduce my Private Members’ Bill namely the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2024. What the people of the state are expecting from this august house today, is a voice in support of Lokayukta, and a voice against the virus of corruption,” he said.

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