Lok Ayukta amendment limits powers of the anti-corruption agency. Here’s how Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram: Disregarding the fervent opposition, the Assembly on Tuesday passed the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill that takes away the enforceable rights of the anti-corruption agency.

The amendment Bill, which makes the Legislative Assembly the authority to review verdicts against the Chief Minister, has brought in quite a few other changes too. Check them out:

1. Act: If Lok Ayukta pronounces a verdict against anyone, their ‘competent authority’ is to enforce the recommendation in the verdict and then inform the Lok Ayukta. Competent authorities include the Governor, the Chief Minister, and the Government.

Amendment: As per the amendment, the Lok Ayukta verdict is scrutinized by the appellate authority, and can be accepted or rejected.

If it is against the Chief Minister, the appellate authority would be the Assembly, while that for the ministers would be the chief minister. For MLAs, the appellate authority would be the Speaker.

Lok Ayukta should be informed about the appellate authority’s decision within 90 days. The time period starts from the day the Assembly is convened, in case the House has to take a decision on a verdict.

With this amendment, the ruling dispensation may ‘save’ the person against whom the Lok Ayuktha verdict has been pronounced.

2. Act: Lok Ayukta has the powers to book and issue verdicts against state office bearers of political parties.

Amendment: Political party officer bearers have been removed from the ambit of Lok Ayukta. Earlier, the Governor was the appellate authority. The Government opined that this was inappropriate. With this, the Governor’s powers on Lok Ayukta verdicts have been completely negated.

3. Act: A retired judge from the Supreme Court or High Court Chief Justice must be appointed as the Lok Ayukta. High Court sitting judge must be appointed as the Upa Lok Ayukta.

Amendment: Retired judges from the High Court can be appointed as the Lok Ayukta and Upa Lok Ayukta.

4. Act: A five-year term for Lok Ayukta and Upa Lok Ayukta.

Amendment: The upper age limit for the Lok Ayukta and Upa Lok Ayukta fixed at 70 years.

5. Act: There are no terms on what to do in the event of death or resignation of the Lok Ayukta or the Upa Lok Ayukta.

Amendment: Until the appointment of the next Lok Ayukta, Governor can hand over the charge to the most senior Upa Lok Ayukta. Even in case of absence due to leave or any other reasons, the Governor can give the charge to the senior Upa Lok Ayukta.


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