CHENNAI: The Assembly on Monday passed a bill to set up Lokayukta, a body to probe corruption among public servants.
Tabling the Tamil Nadu Lokayukta Bill, 2018 in the House, minister D Jayakumar said the Centre had earlier enacted the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, which has the provision for a Lokayukta, or public ombudsman, in every state. As per the bill, the Act may be called the Tamil Nadu Lokayukta Act, 2018.
The chairperson of the Lokayukta would be a judge of the High Court or a person with 25 years' experience in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance and law.
Four members will be there, out of whom two shall be judicial members while non-judicial members should have 25 years of experience in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance and law.
The chairperson and the members shall be appointed by the Governor. The appointment shall be made on the recommendation of the selection committee comprising the Chief Minister, Assembly Speaker, the leader of the opposition or the leader of the single largest party in opposition in the Assembly. The selection committee shall regulate its own procedure for selecting the chairperson and members, which shall be transparent.
The chairperson and every member hold office as such for a term of five years from the date he enters into his office or until he attains the age of 70, whichever is earlier.
The Lokayukta's jurisdiction extends to any person who is or has been a minister of the state, member of the legislative Assembly, all officers and employees of the state, any body or board or corporation or authority or company or society or trust or autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament or the Legislative Assembly of the state or wholly or partly financed by the government or controlled by it.
For the purpose of any inquiry, the inquiry wing of the Lokayukta shall have all powers of a civil code under the code of civil procedure, 1908. The enquiry wing can summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examining, require the discovery and production of any document, receive evidence on affidavits, request any public record or copy from any court or office, issuing commissions for the examination of witness or documents.
The chairperson or any member shall be removed from his office by order of the Governor on grounds of misbehavior, after the High Court, on a reference being made to it by the Governor on a petition signed by at-least forty-five members of the legislative assembly, has on an inquiry held by the High Court in that behalf, reported that the chairperson or such member, as the case may be, ought to be removed on such ground.
However false and frivolous or vexatious complaint against a public servant under this act shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
In case of conviction of a person being an individual or society or association or persons or trust for having made a false complaint under this act, such person shall be liable to pay compensation to the public servant against whom he made the false complaint in addition to the legal expenses for contesting the case by such public servant.