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New Bill to cover Chief Minister

Govt to place Lokayukta Bill on the last day of House session

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Following pressure from anti-graft protesters, the State Cabinet has decided to introduce the Lokayukta Bill, 2012 on the last day of the ongoing Winter Session of the State Assembly repealing the existing Act.

Informing this after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said the radical aspect of the proposed Bill is that Chief Minister will also come under its purview.

After a threadbare discussion on the matter, the Cabinet felt the need to fine tune the draft Bill.

The Cabinet would again meet on Thursday to finalise the draft Lokayukta Bill before it can be introduced during this Winter Session.

Dr Sangma said, “Our intention is very clear. We want to have an effective Lokayukta Act which will address the issues of corruption in a manner which is befitting to the given circumstances and the emerging changes that we see”.

He said that the Government would like to ensure that this proposed bill is introduced on the final day of the session and leave it to the House to take a final call on this.

“Once it is tabled in the House, it becomes everybody’s property. There will be enough room for everyone to discuss the Bill,” Dr Sangma said.

To a specific question, he said that the Chief Minster’s office, all the legislators and officials from top to bottom rung would come under the purview of the new Lokayukta once it becomes an Act.

Earlier, the Chief Minister in his reply to a pointed question in this regard raised by the leader of Opposition Conrad K Sangma on the first day to the Winter Session of the Assembly said, “We are keen on replacing the existing Act, 2002”.

He further referred to the existing Lokayukta Act, regarding which “legal and protocol” issues have been raised.

Sit-in-Demo: Meanwhile, several anti-graft organizations on Tuesday staged a sit-in-demonstration outside the Additional Secretariat to pressurize the state government to introduce a strong Lokayukta bill during the ongoing winter session of the Assembly.

According to convener of Mait Shaphrang Movement (MSM) Michael Syiem, the government had in the past assured the NGOs that the bill would be introduced in the session and prior to this, it was stated that an all-party meeting would be convened.

“But then the government went back on its word and did not convene the all-party meet. That is why we decided to hold the dharna today to pressurize the government to introduce the bill in this session”, he said.

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