Goa drops clause on heft fine from Lokayukta Bill

Panaji, April 23 (IANS) In a significant climb-down, the BJP’s Goa government Tuesday deleted a controversial clause from the state Lokayukta Bill which imposed a fine up to Rs.10 lakh and imprisonment up to six months for dubious complaints.

The fresh amendment to the Goa Lokayukta (first amendment) Bill, 2013, was tabled during the budget session of the Goa legislative assembly Tuesday.

The amendment omits the much debated ‘Clause 8’ of the law, which advocated stringent punishment for complainants who make “false allegations”, have “malafide intention or ulterior motive”, file a “complaint with intention to malign or tarnish image or reputation of the public functionary”, or swear lies on affidavit and file a “frivolous or vexatious complaint”.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who tabled the new amendment, said it would ensure that the fine was only up to Rs.1 lakh.

The hefty fines were severely criticised by the Aam Aadmi Party unit in Goa, which claimed that the act was Draconian and could be used to pressurise complainants.

The new amendments are expected to be passed during the current budget session which stretches up to May 2.

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