In a move envisaged to give more teeth to the fight against corruption, the State Assembly on Wednesday passed the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011 by voice vote.
“We have drawn up a strong and effective Bill with a highly transparent mechanism,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, adding the selection of the Lokayukta would be free from bureaucratic and political hindrances.
Earlier, the bone of contention was inclusion of the Chief Minister on the Lokayukta selection panel, which has now been amended. The Chairman of the Legislative Council will act as co-coordinator of the five-member committee.
According to the provisions of the Bill, the committee will include the Speaker of the Assembly, as also two sitting judges, nominated by the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court. Out of this selection committee, a search panel will be constituted and it will have a time-limit of three months to draw up a list of probable candidates for Lokayukta.
The search committee must include at least two members who are either judges of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice and a sitting judge of the High Court.
In the event of doubts aired by any two members over a particular candidate, that person's name would immediately be dropped from contention. Mr. Kumar emphasised that the selection rules were so designed as to remove any doubt on the personal integrity of the Lokayukta, who would not be affiliated to any political party, nor would he have served on any government-appointed committee in the past.
Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs minister Vijendra Prasad Yadav tabled the bill. It was taken up for voting by Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary, following deliberations by members from the ruling and opposition parties.