Sunday, June 23, 2024

Lokayukta Bill: Uncertainty looms large


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Uncertainty looms large over the fate of the new Lokayukta Bill, which will be tabled in the State Assembly on Friday, as it is not yet clear whether the Bill will be passed without discussion on Friday, which is last day of the winter session.

Normally the members need time to get familiarized with any new Bill. So introduction and the passing of the Bill on the same day will not be ideal as the members will be in the dark about its various aspects.

However, in the past, the Government had created precedence by introducing the Bills related to setting up of several private universities and passing them on the same day.

Earlier, the Opposition had demanded for an all-party meeting to discuss the matter, but Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, while refusing to accept the demand, said that since the time was too short, the Cabinet meeting would take a decision on a strong Lokayukta Act.

Accordingly on Tuesday, the Cabinet discussed the need to legislate a new Lokayukta Bill.

The Assembly Speaker told reporters that since it is a Government Bill, it will not lapse even if it is carried forward, whereas any private member’s bill lapses if it is not passed on time.

Moreover, there is no fear that the House will be dissolved soon, as the term of the present Assembly expires on March 9.

Though the 19 NGOs, spearheading the campaign for a strong Lokayukta in the State welcomed the Government’s commitment, they gave an indication of continuing with the sit-in protests till they are happy with the final outcome.

“We are ready for any further action if required,” said Freedom Project leader Angela Rangad.

Rangad also urged the Government to set a timeframe within which the Act would be operational once passed.

According to her, the NGOs hope that there would be a call to vote on the Bill and not that it would be merely tabled and referred to an Assembly Select Committee.

“We also do not want it to be another Lok Pal episode of being tabled over and over again with no result. We therefore would gauge the commitment of all those individual representatives and parties on this Bill,” Rangad added.


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