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Lokayukta: What does it mean for Goa?

The Government of Goa has appointed Justice P. K. Mishra, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court as Lokayukta of the State. He had recently retired as chairman of Goa State Human Rights commission. The post had being vacant for more than two years after the first Lokayukta of Goa Justice (Retd) Sudarshan Reddy had resigned on October 17, 2013.

A Lokayukta is the state’s version of Lokpal, which applies to the union (Central) government. Investigates graft cases against politicians, public servants and functionaries. No person of the mentioned capacity is immune to investigation.

It is a statutory body without constitutional backing and comprises of 1 chairperson and maximum 8 members. A person who has served as the Chief Justice of India or the former Judge of Supreme Court can become the chairman of Lokayukta.

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An eminent person can also be made the chairman. Required he has impeccable integrity, 25 years of experience in regards anti-corruption policy, along with the knowledge of public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management.

People who cannot become the chairperson of Lokayukta are MPs, MLAs, convicts, age below 45 years, Panchayats or Municipality members, person removed or dismissed from the public service, person affiliated with a political party, Businessman or a professional (he will have to quit it in order to be appointed).

 

Lokayukta has the power to –

 

  1. Carry out investigations in regards to graft and misuse of power against any public servant and politician.

 

  1. They can even stop the transfer of an investigating officer of the cases that are under the ambit of Lokayukta.

 

  1. Authorize for search and seizure operations of assets.

 

  1. Power to confiscate assets or any other benefits procured through the means of corruption.

 

  1. Recommend the transfer or even suspension of Public servant under suspicion for corruption. Although it applies only under special circumstances.

 

Previous Lokayukta Justice (Retd) Sudarshan Reddy’s departure citing personal reasons had left 21 cases pending. These included the illegal mining scam and government recruitment process. Goa is said to face the assembly elections in March, 2017.

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