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Monday, January 24, 2022

Goa Lokayukta has been reduced to a post of record-keeper alleges aires

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Welcoming the appointment of Retired Bombay High Court Justice Ambadas Joshi as the Goa Lokayukta, Adv. Aires Rodrigues has demanded that the Government should immediately issue an ordinance restoring the powers of the Lokayukta.

Adv. Rodrigues has stated that by those very retrograde amendments bulldozed in the Legislative Assembly in January this year and which were notified on 17th February, the Government had totally diluted the Lokayukta Act rendering the Lokayukta absolutely toothless and totally powerless.

Adv. Rodrigues has further stated that the Goa Lokayukta would now practically act only as a mere record-keeper of the list of assets and liabilities filed annually by all the public functionaries in terms of Section 21 of the Goa Lokayukta Act.

Pointing out that that the Institution of Lokayukta was envisaged as a step forward in ensuring good governance and due respect for the rule of law while propagating the prevention of corruption, inefficiency and mal-administration in the State, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that to achieve these desired results it was paramount that the autonomy and the total independence of the Lokayukta was ensured with no interference or manipulation whatsoever by the government.
Expressing surprise that since 2013 even the Lokayukta website had not been set up, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that the public are entitled to have access to the orders passed by the Lokayukta as well as the list of assets and liabilities filed annually by the public functionaries.

Recalling that in 2013 Karnataka’s former formidable Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde had suggested that some provisions be incorporated to strengthen the Goa Lokayukta Act but that all those views were consigned to the racks, Adv. Rodrigues has also stated that more recently the now retired Lokayukta Justice P.K Misra had taken the pains to also propose some much required amendments which sadly also met the same fate.

Adv. Rodrigues has demanded that if the government lacks the intent and will to have a sturdy and truly empowered Lokayukta, the only option was to wind up the now sham Institution of the Goa Lokayukta and save the exchequer a whopping 1.8 crores which is the annual expenditure incurred in running that body which in its present form will serve no meaningful purpose whatsoever but only act as a white elephant being an unnecessary financial liability to the already overburdened taxpayers of Goa.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sudarshen Reddy was on 8th March 2013 appointed as Goa’s first Lokayukta and assumed charge on 14th March. Within six months suddenly on 18th September 2013 Sudarshen Reddy without citing any reasons left Goa in a huff after tendering his resignation which was accepted by the Goa Governor on 17th October 2013.

On 24th April 2016 the Retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court Justice P.K.Misra was appointed as Goa’s second Lokayukta and he assumed charge on 28th of April 2016 while his term ended on 17th September last year. Last month retired Bombay High Court Justice U.V.Bakre initially gave his consent for the post but later withdrew it reportedly on account of those controversial amendments making the post of Goa Lokayukta redundant and farcical.

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