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Maharashtra to have Lokayukta law on lines of Centre`s Lokpal, says Fadnavis

Maharashtra to have Lokayukta law on lines of Centre`s Lokpal, says Fadnavis

Maharashtra will have a Lokayukta law on the lines of the Centre`s Lokpal legislation which will also bring the chief minister and ministers under its ambit, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of the winter session of the state legislature, he said a bill in this regard will be introduced. “The new (to be amended) law is important in terms of bringing “complete transparency” in the state, he said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said the decision was taken in the interest of the people of the state.

“The draft to prepare the new Lokayukta law was passed by the Cabinet and we will be tabling it before the legislature. For the first time, the chief minister and a council of ministers have been brought under the ambit of Lokayukta,” he said.

Fadnavis said the existing Lokayukta law did not include the anti-corruption Act. “So the anti-corruption act has been made part of this act (new law),” he added.
The deputy chief minister said social activist Anna Hazare had been demanding Maharashtra have a law on the lines of Lokpal. When the BJP-Shiv Sena government was in power (from 2014-19), a panel headed by Hazare was formed.

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However, the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government- which remained in power from November 2019 to June 2022- did not work on it seriously, Fadnavis alleged.

“After the new (Eknath Shinde-led) government came to power (in June this year), we expedited the process. The report submitted by the committee was accepted by the government. Recommendations of the panel led by Anna Hazare have been accepted completely,” Fadnavis added.

He said the Lokayukta will be either a retired chief justice of a High Court or a Supreme Court (judge). It will also have two more high court judges and two benches.

“The chief minister will be brought under the ambit of Lokayukta and so will the ministers (of the state Cabinet),” Fadnavis added.

The Maharashtra Lokayukta is an apex statutory functionary independent of the governing political and public administration, created to address the grievances of the people against the government and its administration.

The Lokpal was established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to inquire and investigate allegations of corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of this Act.

Anna Hazare observed a fast in February 2019 to protest against the delay in the appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and the passage of the Lokayukta Act in Maharashtra.

Fadnavis, who was the chief minister of the BJP-led NDA government at that time, had said almost all of Hazare`s demands were accepted.

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