Sunday, November 27, 2022

Nagaland: ACAUT asks govt to appoint Lokayukta

ACAUT Nagaland has urged upon the search committee members to immediately submit the name for Lokayukta and also demanded that the State government appoint the right person to the post at the earliest so as to implement the Nagaland Lokayukta Act in letter and spirit.
ACAUT in a press release, also demanded that the Vigilance Commission be restored at the earliest so as to look into mounting corruption cases pertaining to government servants for initiating disciplinary actions against erring officials.
ACAUT recalled that the Nagaland Lokayukta Bill, 2017 was given assent by the governor on December 21,2017 after it along with various civil society organisations, applied pressure through petitions, public rally resolutions, agitations, walkathon from Dimapur to Kohima then resorted to a hunger strike outside Nagaland Civil Secretariate, Kohima. It was due to these that the Act was published in Nagaland Gazette on January 31, 2018, ACAUT said.
Thereafter, Justice Uma Nath Singh was sworn in on February 22, 2019 as the first Lokayukta of Nagaland, but he was prematurely asked to step down by Supreme Court on February 5, 2020.
ACAUT said the UDA government then made the Upa-Lokayukta in-charge of Lokayukta and the term, as per rules, should not exceed six months. However, it said the period expired on August 5, 2021 and instead, the State government introduced and passed the Lokayukta (Amendment No.2) Bill, 2021 in Nagaland Legislative Assembly in Monsoon Session. The bill was passed just before the House was adjourned sine die on August 5, 2021, which only left the head of the anti-corruption ombudsman vacant for a year.
Further, ACAUT said that when the term expired on February 5, 2022, the post of Lokayukta remained headless for the second year, thereby “giving undue political advantage to opposition-less UDA government without any checks and balances in place.”
ACAUT said it was condemnable that in Nagaland, the most powerful legal institution against corruption does not have a qualified Lokayukta nor complete designated members, but manned by a political appointee as Upa Lokayukta. ACAUT said the prestigious post of Upa Lokayukta ought to be occupied by a person of impeccable integrity, valid qualification and without any party affiliation.
ACAUT reminded that the NDPP’s 2018 election promise to “fight against corruption, centralization of power, and restore rule of law in the state” as per its own motto- “Facta NonVerba” proved wrong.
In view of the above, ACAUT said it was only logical that an unchecked opposition-less UDA government is mired with scams, corruption cases, gross misgovernance and financial mismanagement, leading to CBI and ED knocking on the doors of various departments.
ACAUT asserted that the damning CAG reports over the years of no action taken against erring officials, were proof that the UDA government intended to keep Lokayukta as a decorative position without any power and functions. This was a worst-case scenario happening in a democracy, it contended.

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