Mumbai: The state government has finally bowed before social activist Anna Hazare by bringing the office of chief minister under the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta. With this, the Lokayukta will now get powers to interrogate the chief minister in-camera.
The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday. In addition to this, it has also been decided to bring in all inclusiveness and transparency in the process of appointing Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta.
Minister of water resources Girish Mahajan said, “Apart from the chief minister, ministers and Opposition leaders will also be brought under the ambit of the Lokayukta. This is a very good move to ensure corruption-free governance.”
The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organisation in the states, which mainly helps people publicise corruption among the politicians and government officials. Maharashtra is the first state to introduce the institution of the Lokayukta through the Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act in 1971.
It is not mandatory for states to include chief minister under the purview of Lokayukta, according to the present Lokpal and Lokayukta Act. But the Maharashtra Cabinet decided to become one of the few states that has conferred more powers on the Lokayukta.
The move is seen as the state government bowing before Mr Hazare, who has been demanding for some time to bring the CM under the ambit of the Lokayukta.
Mr Hazare welcomed the state government’s decision to include the CM’s office under the ambit of the Lokayukta. “However, the move will be applicable only after the Act gets passed in the State Legislature. Only then we can be sure of this,” he said....