Just as the Centre has dragged its feet on appointing a Lokpal, several states have done the same with the Lokayukta, with the apex court asking them to expedite the process. Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand have even questioned the need for a Lokayukta. Tamil Nadu passed its Lokayukta Bill only in July and is yet to appoint an officer. Even Odisha, Nagaland and Manipur are yet to appoint their first ombudsmen, a concept dating back to in Sweden.
Some states have had Lokayukta even before the Lokpal Act. Maharashtra was the first state to enact a law for it in The Karnataka Lokayukta is believed to be among the most effective Lokayuktas.
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It landed him in jail for 24 days. He was acquitted by a CBI court in October Lokayuktas in different states do not all enjoy the same powers. For instance, the Maharashtra Lokayukta does not have a police wing under it to investigate graft complaints, unlike in Karnataka. There is a widely held perception that Lokayuktas are not empowered enough and state governments try to weaken them.
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In , Karnataka set up an Anti-Corruption Bureau ACB , which has been challenged by private petitioners in court on the premise that it eats into the powers of the Lokayukta, which has joined the case as a respondent. While not commenting on the specifics of the case as it is sub-judice, the current Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty, says the body has made a submission that it should be strengthened and the government cannot take away its powers.
The West Bengal Lokayukta law has reportedly been amended to exclude the CM from its purview for bureaucratic and police appointments. Moreover, the efficacy of Lokayuktas in tackling corruption has been questioned in the context of very few complaints being filed in the first place. Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative says most complaints made to the Lokayukta are to do with maladministration and non-availability of government services rather than corruption.
The study noted that there was one corruption case for every six robbery cases, every 10 murder cases and every 11 kidnapping or abduction cases. And only a third of corruption cases that went to trial in the period resulted in a conviction. Hegde says judgments under the Prevention of Corruption Act have only been delivered in influential cases.
But how many people go to it? What this means is that even in states which have a functioning Lokayukta, corruption is not the biggest target as widely believed. It is only when errant public servants are made an example of by the Lokayukta and the Lokpal, when we finally have one, will more people come forward to file complaints. Who will, indeed, bell the graft?
They are ombudsmen — Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in states — tasked with looking into complaints of corruption and maladministration against public servants How long have they been around? The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, , was passed on December 18 that year, after protests led by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal in , and came into force a month later. Maharashtra was the first state to have a Lokayukta law in and several other states followed suit. The law mandated that every state appoint a Lokayukta within a year, but 13 states do not have one at the moment.
Why the delay in appointing Lokpal? One of the members on the selection committee for appointing the Lokpal is the leader of the opposition.
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The apex court said this should not delay the appointment. Additional reporting by Indulekha Aravind. Read more on lokpal. Sunday ET. Anna Hazare. Follow us on. Download et app.
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BJP leaders have turned 'allergic' to Lokpal, says Anna Hazare
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Fill in your details: Will be displayed Will not be displayed Will be displayed. He will start his hunger strike at his village Ralegan Siddhi on January 30 and will continue it till the government meets his demands. Now I will not have any more false assurances and continue the hunger strike till there is life in my body," he said. In March last year, Hazare along with his supporters held a week-long hunger strike at the Ramleela ground, demanding implementation of the Lokpal law. This government is on the same course. What kind of a government is this which does not obey the Supreme Court order.
Is it a government, or some bania ki dukan provisional store ," said the anti-graft campaigner. Hazare also charged the government of failing to meet his demands for pensions, adequate price of crops and loan waivers to the farmers. It is concerned only for industrialists whose loans running in lakhs of crores of rupees have been waived," he alleged. He claimed agrarian distress due to falling prices has forced farmers to throw their produce like vegetables and milk on the roads.
Hazare asked his followers not to crowd Ralegan Siddhi, where he will be on fast unto death, and hold the hunger strike at their respective places. Rashtriya Kisan Mahapanchayat that has extended support to Hazare, said farmer outfits across the country will join the hunger strike. Organisations of farmers in 15 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have assured to join the hunger strike and more are expected to do so in the coming days, said core committee member of the Mahapanchayat, Shiv Kumar Kakka.
He said he feels the country is in "danger" of slipping towards "autocracy". Anna Hazare said he will start an indefinite hunger strike from January 30 over his unmet demands for farmers and implementation of the anti-corruption law. Photo: Reuters.