A discussion on the controversial amendments to the Lokayukta Act held on Tuesday between representatives of the India Against Corruption (Goa Chapter) and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar remained inconclusive, said an official spokesman of IAC here.
The discussion was held in the presence of Advocate-General Atmaram Nadkarni and senior BJP leader Hubert Gomes.
According to a press release issued by IAC, Goa, after the discussion, IAC brought to the notice of the Chief Minister that the provisions of the Goa Lokayukta (First Amendment Act) Act 2013 were not in tune with Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act 2011.
He reportedly stated that provisions in the Goa Lokayukta Act were better than the Uttarakhand Act. When specifically asked about whether he was willing to honour BJP’s pre-poll promise to bring an amendment on the lines of Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act, the Chief Minister said he would be able to take a decision only after the Lokayukta was appointed and functioned for at least four months.
IAC pointed out to the Chief Minister that under the Uttarakhand scheme, if the Uttarakhand Lokayukta’s recommendations were not honoured by the authorities, the Lokayukta was empowered to approach the High Court within 15 days, and such a provision was absent in the Goa Act. The Chief Minister replied that in the High Court matters were always delayed, and therefore, such a provision was not necessary in Goa. When IAC requested that the competent authority should not be allowed to reject the declaration made by the Lokayukta, the Chief Minister argued that the power of deemed rejection was in fact strengthening the Lokayukta Act. The IAC read out to the Chief Minister the provision in the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act which stated that “merely because a case could not be proved under this Act after investigation shall not be held against a complainant”. The Chief Minister said that such a clause was there in the Goa Lokayukta Act also. However, when asked to point out where it was, neither the Chief Minister nor the Advocate General could point out the same. The IAC told the Chief Minister that if any complaint was based on forgery, IAC had no problem if the government awarded maximum punishment. IAC was of the view that no mercy should be shown in such cases. Though the Chief Minister spoke in the Legislative Assembly about complaints based on forgery, the punitive provisions in the Goa Act were not restricted only to forgery but were much wider. Therefore, the punitive section required reconsideration. The IAC has invited suggestions from its volunteers to incorporate them in a reply to be sent to the government. It has been requested that comments should reach within four days to email@example.com.
The IAC delegation comprised Valmiki Naik (coordinator), Oscar Rebello and Ricardo Rebello. The meeting was organised at the initiative of Dr. Gomes.