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SHILLONG: After a prolonged delay, the State Government on Wednesday constituted a Search Committee for recommending names of persons for appointment as the Chairperson and members of the Lokayukta for consideration of the Selection Committee.
Lokayukta is entrusted to probe corruption cases of public servants.
On March 26, 2014, the Governor had given assent to the amended Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill, 2014, but it took nearly three years to form the Search Committee.
The Search Committee comprises G.P Wahlang as Chairman, B.B Dutta, L.M Sangma, Theilin Phanbuh and S.G Momin as members.
The terms of reference of the Committee will be in accordance with Rules 10 and 11 of the Search Committee (Constitution, Terms and Conditions of Appointment of Members and the Manner of Selection of Panel of Names for Appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokayukta) Rules, 2014, the Commissioner and Secretary of the Political Department said in a statement issued to the media.
After the search committee proposes names, the process will be still longer as the Selection Committee will have to take a final decision on the matter.
The Selection Committee comprises the Chief Minister (chairman) and the Assembly Speaker, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya or a Judge nominated by him, the Leader of the Opposition and the nominated member M.P Bezbaruah as members.
The final approval for the formation of Lokayukta will be given by the Governor after getting the recommendation from the Selection Committee.
As per the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, the chairperson of the Lokayukta will be an individual who is or has been a Chief Justice of the High Court or a Judge of the High Court or an eminent person who fulfils the eligibility of having an impeccable integrity and knowledge of the anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management for at least 25 years.
While the term of the Chairman and four members is five years, they can remain in office till the age of 70 as per the Lokayukta Act. The minimum age of the Chairperson and the members should be 45 years.
In the absence of Lokayukta, the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of CID is probing corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998, but there was not a single conviction after it was set up in the State.