JK Admin Sets Up Panel To Examine Applicability Of Lokayukta Act

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JAMMU – The Jammu and Kashmir administration headed by Lt Governor G C Murmu has constituted a committee to relook into the working of Vigilance Commission, Anti-Corruption Bureau and applicability of Lokayukta Act.

According to an order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), the panel would be headed by the secretary of department of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, and would submit its report by December 13.

The director of ACB, additional secretary of GAD and two officers from the department of law, justice and parliamentary affairs to be co-opted by the chairman would be the members of the committee, the order issued on Tuesday said.

It said the committee would also examine the issue related to the definition of “public servant” under the Indian Penal Code for the public servants of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act, which received the assent of the president on January 1, 2014, provided for establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union of India and Lokayukta for the states and UTs to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries and connected matters.

However, the act was not implemented in Jammu and Kashmir as the erstwhile state was having an accountability commission to exercise jurisdiction over public men and vigilance commission to look into the complaints of corruption against government servants.

The Supreme Court, on March 23, 2018, issued notices to chief secretaries of 11 states, including Jammu and Kashmir, seeking explanation in two weeks on why they have not appointed a Lokayukta, despite enactment of the law five years ago.

However, on July 10, 2018, the then state government informed the apex court that provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act, 2002, and the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011, created under the state laws, comprehensively covered the scope of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act.

With the reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs on October 31, Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission ceased to exist.

Similarly, the chief vigilance commissioner and vigilance commissioners in J&K vigilance commission held office only till October 31 as per provisions of reorganisation act.

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