Odisha News Insight

President gives Assent to Odisha Lokayukta Bill

Pranab-RepublicPresident Pranab Mukherjee has finally given his assent to Odisha Lokayukta Bill, 2014, making it an Act. The Bill was adopted by the Odisha Assembly on February 14, 2014.

Odisha was the second state after Uttarakhand to pass the Lokayukta Bill. The Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill – 2014 was passed on January 22, 2014. However, Odisha became the first state in the country to have Lokayukta law.

The Odisha Lokayukta Act 2014 has provisions for a five-member body, which will be led by a sitting or former Judge of the Orissa High Court. It will also have one more judicial member. From among three non-judicial members one would be either women or scheduled caste, scheduled tribe or minority category on a rotational basis. The Lokaykta should be at least 50 years of age.

The Lokayukta will have the authority to order direct or indirect probe into any corruption matter related to the state.

As per the provisions of the Bill, the incumbent as well as former chief ministers, ministers, MLAs, government officers, heads of panchayats and municipalities and trusts receiving government grants will come under the purview of the Lokayukta who is empowered to probe into graft charges. NGOs, contractors (firm or persons) and suppliers dealing with government money would also be covered by it.

The Lokayukta will be chosen by a selection committee headed by the Chief Minister and comprising others including the Leader of the Opposition, speaker of Odisha assembly, Chief Justice of Orissa High Court or a judge nominated by him and an eminent jurist nominated by the Governor. The chairman of the Lokayukta would be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the selection committee.

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