statesman news service
Gandhinagar, 1 October
Ignoring objections from the Governor, the BJP-led Gujarat Legislative Assembly today once again passed the controversial Lokayukta Bill that gives the Chief Minister a substantial power in the selection process of the state ombudsman.
The Gujarat Legislative Assembly had passed the new Lokayukta Aayog Bill during the Monsoon session following the state Government losing a two-year-long legal battle over the Governor appointing retired Justice R A Mehta as the Lokayukta.
The Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2003, which was returned by the Governor for reconsideration, was passed again in the Assembly unopposed as Opposition Congress legislators were suspended from the House on Monday.
Governor Kamla Beniwal had returned the Bill, passed during the Budget session of the Assembly, expressing her reservations about the legislation giving all powers to select the Lokayukta to a committee headed by the Chief Minister.
As per the Bill, the Governor was supposed to appoint the Lokayukta on the recommendations of this committee headed by the Chief Minister.
The Bill was passed by the Assembly today once again in the same form and would be sent to the Governor for her assent. The Modi government had proposed to repeal the 27-year-old act itself completely and replace it with the new Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill.