Himachal brings panchayats in Lokayukta’s ambit

March 11th, 2011 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, March 11 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh state assembly Friday passed a bill that empowers the Lokayukta (ombudsman) to hear corruption complaints against top functionaries of local governance institutions.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the home portfolio, presented the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2011, for discussion and approval after the question hour. It was brought to amend the 1983 legislation.

The bill empowers the Lokayukta, besides others, to hear corruption complaints against chairpersons or vice-chairpersons of the district councils (zila parishads) and panchayat committees.

Participating in the discussion, Congress legislator Rajesh Dharmani demanded the draft law also include the functionaries of the gram panchayats.

He said normally complaints of irregularities remained pending before the subdivisional magistrates and the block development officers against panchayat “pradhans” (chairpersons) and “up-pardhans” (vice chairpersons) and they continued to indulge in corruption.

Dhumal said the 13th Finance Commission had laid down that the state government should put in place either a system of independent ombudsmen for local government institutions or the state Lokayukta should be empowered to look into complaints of corruption in these institutions.

Later, the house passed the bill with voice vote.

–Indo-Asia News Service

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