Kerala govt moves to dilute powers of Lok Ayukta

Aneesh Jacob

Pinarayi Vijayan-illustration on power grab

Thiruvananthapuram: In an apparent move to dilute the powers of Lok Ayukta, which acts as an ombudsman investigating allegations of malpractices and corruption against public servants, the government is bringing in amendments to Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999 (Act 8 of 1999).

The amendments brought during last government’s tenure as an ordinance have been submitted now before the Governor. It is learnt that the amendments give authority to the government to reject or approve Lok Ayukta verdict.

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.

There are allegations that the Lok Ayukta has been targeted by the government as there are many cases before it which may put the administration in bad light.

As per the ordinance, the authority concerned has to take a decision on the verdict within three months. Or else it will be considered approved.

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