Process hits roadblock: Committee seeks legal opinion for setting up Lokayukta in J&K
SRINAGAR: Process to set up first ever Lokayukta has
hit a roadblock with high-powered committee deciding to seek legal opinion
before implementing the Law Commission recommendations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Last month, Jammu
and Kashmir government had constituted a five member committee headed by
Secretary, Law, to look into recommendations of the Law Commission. Director Anti-Corruption Bureau, Additional
Secretary General Administration Department and two officers from Department of
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs were made its members. The committee was
asked to submit report by December 12.
Few days before
the deadline, the committee sought more time for submitting the report. “It needs
some legal consultation over applicability of several sections of the Lokayukta
in Jammu and Kashmir. Some believe that officials from other departments can’t
conduct enquiries under Lokayukta Act. It has to look whether officials of
other departments can conduct enquiries till inquiry wing is constituted by the
Lokayukta,” said an official of Law Department.
The official said
legal experts will help the committee to examine recommendations of the Law
Commission. “The committee will seek suggestions from experts about the number
of members required in the Lokayukta. Plus it will also try to figure out
whether all members need to have a judicial background,” the official said.
headed by Justice (retired) MK Hanjura had suggested that the Lokayukta shall
consist of a chairperson, who is or has been a chief justice or judge of a high
court and four members, out of who two shall be judicial members.
“Till the time
inquiry wing is constituted by the Lokayukta, government shall make available
such number of officers and other staff from such of its departments, as may be
required, for conducting inquiry,” read the Law Commission recommendations.
Anchal Sethi said committee was in process to finalise the report. “It will
take some time to finalise it,” Sethi said.
Except Jammu and
Kashmir, Lokayukta Act was implemented across the country in 2013. According to
Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, every state shall establish a
body to be known as the Lokayukta, if not so established, constituted or
appointed, by a law made by the state legislature, to deal with complaints
relating to corruption against public functionaries, within a period of one
year from the date of commencement of this Act.