Goa Assembly passes amendment to Lokayukta Act

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Panaji, Jan 28 (PTI) The Goa Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed an amendment to the Goa Lokayukta Act amid criticism by opposition that it diluted the legislation.

Among other things, the Goa Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 changes the qualification for the post of Lokayukta, an anti-corruption ombudsman body.

Earlier the person had to be a retired Supreme Court judge. The amendment provides that a retired High Court judge can be appointed to the post.

It also curtails some of the statutory powers of the Lokayukta.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant introduced the bill.

During the debate, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said the Lokayukta Act of Gujarat, which is also governed by the BJP, is more powerful than the Goa Act.

'With these amendments, the Lokayukta will be further redundant,' the Congress leader said, demanding that the bill be forwarded to the select committee of the House.

Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte accused the BJP-led state government of diluting the powers of Lokayukta.

As per the amendment, even a retired bank or insurance firm officer can become deputy Lokayukta, he said, adding that the changes will make the institution 'toothless'.

Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai alleged that the government was planning to dilute the powers of Lokayukta as Justice P K Misra, who recently retired from the post, gave 16 adverse orders against BJP-led government. PTI RPS KRK KRK