It will be moved in the ongoing session, says Parrikar

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday told the Legislative Assembly that the government would move an amendment Bill in the ongoing session to address the objections raised by Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo to the Goa Lokayukta (First) Amendments Bill 2013.

The Governor wanted the Assembly to reconsider the newly introduced clause of deemed rejection in the section 16(A)(5) which, he said, was “contrary to the customary norms”.

While the Lokayukta Act in Karnataka and some other States say that the report of the Lokayukta, if not accepted by the competent authority within a stipulated period, is deemed to have been accepted, the amendment introduced in the Goa Assembly said if the declaration of Lokayukta indicting a public functionary was not accepted within three months from the date of receipt, it shall be deemed to have been rejected.

The Governor also raised objection to the clause of amendment of section 19(1) which sought to increase the cost of compensation payable to a public functionary to prevent false/frivolous/vexatious complaints. The Governor requested that this might be considered in terms of the quantum of increase that had been proposed in the amendment.

In sub-section (1) of section 19 of the principal Act, the expression “not more than Rs.10,000,” had been replaced by “which shall not be less than Rs. 1 lakh and which may extend up to Rs. 10 lakh.”

The Opposition and civil society groups also opposed the insertion of a clause which sought to penalise false allegations, mala fide complaints, complaints aimed at maligning or tarnishing the image or reputation of a public functionary, and complaints with an affidavit containing false statements or frivolous or vexatious complaints.

Such complaints will lead to imprisonment for not less than six months which may be extended to three years and a fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000 but which may extend to Rs.1 lakh.

Political parties and civil society groups described “deemed rejection” clause as one “aimed at making Lokayukta ineffective to tackle corruption at higher places” and provision of huge penalties and imprisonment in the name of false/vexatious complaints without proper definition as “aimed at deterring people from approaching the Lokayukta”.

Taking note of public outrage and petitions from political parties and civil society groups, the Governor withheld the amendment Bill when it came for his assent.