Odisha Lokayukta Lokpal Bill enacted 2014, becomes the first state to do so.


As per committment by CM Naveen Patnaik, to pass the Lokayukta Bill with 90 days Central Govt passes it, Odisha became the first State to enact the law after the Central Act was passed in Parliament. The speaker of state assembly also extended the session by 1 day to ensure the passage of the bill. With this the Odisha Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 stands repealed.

Membership

>The Chairman of the Lokayukta will either be a sitting or former High Court judge and the commission would consist of at least two judicial members.
>From among three non-judicial members one would be either women or scheduled caste, scheduled tribe or minority category on rotation basis. The Lokaykta should be at least 50 years of age

Tenure

The chairman will hold office for 5 (five) years from the date he assumes office or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

[As per the bill the chairman can be removed by the order of the Governor on the ground of misbehaviour. But before doing so, the Governor is required to refer the petition signed by at least 25 MLAs to the Orissa High Court.]

Selection/ Appointment

The Lokayukta will be chosen by a selection committee headed by the Chief Minister and comprising others including the Leader of the Opposition, speaker of Odisha assembly, Chief Justice of Orissa High Court or a judge nominated by him and an eminent jurist nominated by the Governor.
The chairman of the Lokayukta would be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the selection committee.

Power

>As per the provisions of the Bill, the incumbent as well as former chief ministers, ministers, MLAs, government officers, heads of panchayats and municipalities and trusts receiving government grants will come under the purview of the Lokayukta who is empowered to probe into graft charges.

>NGOs, contractors (firm or persons) and suppliers dealing with government money would also be covered by it.

>The Lokayukta will have the powers of superintendence and direction over any agency or investigating agency, including the State vigilance or crime branch of police.

>The Lokayukta will have powers for search and seizure and its inquiry wing will have powers of civil courts in some cases.

The Lokayukta, on receipt of complaint, may order preliminary inquiry against any public servant by its inquiry wing or any agency to ascertain whether there exists a prima facie case for proceeding in the matter.
As such according to the provisions of the Bill, the Lokayukta will constitute inquiry wing headed by the director of inquiry for the purpose of conducting preliminary inquiry into offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

>The State government will make available officers and other staff as required by Lokayukta for conducting preliminary inquiry.

> The Lokayukta will also have prosecution wing headed by the Director of Prosecution who is or has been in the rank of Director of Public Prosecution of the State.

>Administrative expenses of Lokayukta, including salaries, allowances and pensions, will be charged on the consolidated fund of the State.

Difference from 1995

>Earlier the Lokayukta and Lokpal was not empowered to attach or confiscate properties of persons or organisations against whom prima facie corruption is established. vs Now the Lokayukta investigating into corruption cases will be empowered to attach properties of the guilty for a period of 90 days. Special courts will be set up for trial of such cases.

>The new Act will give authority to the Lokayukta to recommend the State government to transfer and suspend any public servant found guilty.

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