Kerala

CPI(M), govt. defend Lok Ayukta Ordinance

Special CorrespondentJanuary 25, 2022 20:14 IST
Updated: January 26, 2022 10:03 IST

Kodiyeri says Section 14 of Act violates Articles 163, 164 of Constitution

CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has defended the government’s decision to promulgate an Ordinance to curtail the powers of the Kerala Lok Ayukta.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the Advocate General (AG) had counselled the government last year that the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1990, violated the fundamental tenet of Article 164 of the Constitution.

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The Constitutional provision mandated that the Governor appoint the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers. However, as per the current law, the Lok Ayukta could “destroy” a Constitutionally elected government by an adverse ruling. The State could not even appeal against the Lok Ayukta’s order, which was final and binding.

Mr. Balakrishnan said Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bihar and Congress-ruled Punjab had imposed reasonable restrictions on the powers of their respective Lok Ayukta.

The proposed Ordinance did not restrict the right of citizens to move the Lok Ayukta against maladministration and corruption. The forum could not throw out those elected to public office. Such a decision required the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly.

Law Minister P. Rajeeve said the AG had given the legal opinion that Section 14 of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act violated Articles 163 and 164 of the Constitution.

The amendment was per the Constitution, Lokpal and similar laws in other states. As per the amended Ordinance, the Lok Ayukta should submit its report to the government.

The government, Governor or the authority concerned should decide on the judgment within three months. He said the amendment would accord those who draw adverse verdicts from the Lok Ayukta the right to appeal in a higher judicial forum.

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