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Amidst opposition, govt passes amendment to Lokayukta Act

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Panaji: Goa Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed amendment to Goa Lokayukta Act amidst criticism by opposition benches.

State Chief Minister Pramod Sawant introduced The Goa Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for the consideration of the House.

The opposition benches opposed the amendment to the Act claiming that it aims to reduce the powers of the Ombudsman body.

Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said that the Lokayukta Act of Gujarat, which is also governed by BJP-led government, is more powerful than the existing Act in Goa.

“With these proposed amendment, the Lokayukta will be further left redundant,” he said suggesting that the Bill should be forwarded to the Select Committee of the House for consideration.

Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte accused the state government of diluting the powers of Lokayukta where the Lokayukta can be a  retired High Court Judge from the earlier qualification which makes it mandatory to have retired Supreme Court judge on the position.

He also pointed out that deputy Lokayukta can be a retired officer of the Bank or Insurance firm. Khaunte also narrated how amendments to the Act is making the entire Institution of Lokayukta “toothless.”

Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said that the state government has been 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.

“If amendment to Lokayukta Act is passed, I would name BJP as Bhrashtachari Janata party (BJP),” he said adding that if government does not refer the Act to Select Committee than it would mean that they are standing for thieves and robbers.

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