CPI seeks talks with CPM before readying Lok Ayukta bill

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Kanam Rajendran and Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: Mathrubhumi archives

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI, major ally of CPM in LDF government in Kerala, wants the latter to discuss matters pertaining to amendments to Lok Ayukta before preparing the bill. It is learnt that the CPI will intimate the decision to the CPM leadership soon.

The move comes at a time when the LDF government has slated a special assembly session from August 22, in which amendments to Kerala Lok Ayukta Act 1999 (Act 8 of 1999) are expected to be finalized. The government is also convening a special session as Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan did not sign 11 ordinances, including Lok Ayukta Act amendment, before its expiry on August 8.

Meanwhile, the move by the CPI is unsurprising as the party had opposed the ordinance pushed by the government to regulate the powers of Lok Ayukta, way back in January 2022. “If the bill is introduced in the Assembly, everyone will have the freedom to express their opinion. However, such a measure was not taken which eventually led to controversy. It is a fact that the necessary political discussions was not held on the matter,” CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran then told the reporters.

The Opposition and critics of the government has been pinpointing that the amendments will dilute the powers of Lok Ayukta, which acts as an ombudsman investigating allegations of malpractices and corruption against public servants.

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At present Lok Ayukta has the power to remove a public servant if it finds malpractices or corruption. It can issue an order in this regard by submitting to the concerned authority (Governor, CM, State government) under which the respective individual comes. The notion is that the authority should approve it. However, one of the key change now is that the concerned authority will have a say on whether to approve it or not by conducting a hearing of the respective individual.

It is important to note that during the last government’s tenure, minister KT Jaleel had to resign due to Lok Ayukta’s verdict, which was a major blow to the administration.

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