Activists and residents have come together to oppose the passing of the Lokayukta bill in the TN State Assembly without holding a public consultation or making a draft of the bill public.
A lot of residents have been posting messages on social media and writing to Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar as well, asking him not to pass the bill without public consultation, reported the Times of India.
Jayaram Venkatesan, the Convenor of Arappor Iyakkam, a Chennai-based NGO focussing on civic activism held a press conference on Saturday to demand that the government make the draft bill public.
“The government is planning to introduce the bill in the Assembly on Monday and pass it without any debate. It is important to conduct public consultation on this bill because Lokayukta is designed to act as an autonomous anti-corruption body. The TN government has given many reasons to not pass the Lokayukta bill till date,” said Jayaram Venkatesan.
He also said that the Supreme Court has only asked the state governments to file a response, in relation to the steps taken to pass a Lokayukta bill in the states by July 10 and has not asked the states to pass the bill by that date.
“Lokayukta will serve as an independent investigative authority that probes corruption complaints on elected representatives from the panchayat leader level to the Chief Minister of the state. So how can they themselves pass the act without public consultation when a law concerns the elected representatives?” asked Jayaram Venkatesan.
He also said that on Sunday, Arappor Iyakkam has organised a public consultation meeting at Asha Nivas in Nungambakkam, Chennai and that the Chief Secretary and minister D Jayakumar have been invited for the event.
The Lokayukta Act was notified in 2014 and had given a year’s time for the states to constitute a Lokayukta as per the provisions in section 63. By this deadline, the states should have formed a Lokayukta by 2015. Later, a case was filed in the Madras HC for the delay and the Supreme Court ordered the states to report on the progress made in constituting a Lokayukta by July 10.