Meghalaya chief minister promises strong Lokayukta

Shillong, April 18 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Thursday promised to bring in further amendments to the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in order to have a strong ombudsman institution as the legislation was passed by the assembly.

“I assure this august House that once the bill becomes an act, it will be brought back to the House in the next session itself where both the government and the Opposition can table their amendments,” Sangma assured members in the assembly.

He said the government’s intention is to further strengthen the Lokayukta.

“We have no intention to delay in bringing in the act to the House for further amendments, and it will be done in the next session itself,” Sangma said.

Earlier, opposition National People’s Party and United Democratic Party expressed reservations against the non-inclusion of their proposed amendments to the Lokayukta Bill.

The bill came after Governor R.S. Mooshahary had returned the Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill, 2012 for the reconsideration of the house.

The government then accordingly, amended certain sections including section 22, which held that it could, in consultation with the Lokayukta, exclude complaints involving allegation against any specific class of public servants from the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.

The Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill, 2012 was passed Dec 14, 2012 amid a walkout by the then opposition Nationalist Congress Party legislators, who termed it a “weak” bill full of “deformities”.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Right to Information Movement (MRTIM) described the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2013 as a “weak bill”.

“We are hopeful that the chief minister keeps his words by bringing in further amendments to the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in order to have a strong institution of the Lokayukta,” MRTIM convener Michael Syiem said.

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