Under pressure from the Supreme Court, the Tamil Nadu government has finally announced that it will set up a Lokayukta by February 2019.
The submission came after the Supreme Court set a deadline of 2 p.m. on Wednesday for the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report on the steps taken to form a Lokayukta in the state. The court heard multiple Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed by various parties, including activist Prashant Bhushan demanding the status of Lokayukta in the states.
A Lokayukta is an independent investigative authority which would have the power to probe corruption complaints on elected representatives of the people -- from Panchayat leader to the Chief Minister of the state. The Lokayukta Act was notified in 2014 and had given a yearâ€™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. Although in July, the Tamil Nadu government had adopted legislation to form a state Lokayukta, it was met with severe criticism from citizen groups, which said that public consultation was needed before an act concerning elected officials was passed.
The Supreme Court raised questions as to why some of the state governments had not taken steps to form the Lokayukta according to its orders. The bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi slammed the Tamil Nadu government for not submitting any information regarding tthe stateâ€™s formation of a Lokayukta, according to reports.
Adding that the court had noticed from the beginning that Tamil Nadu was not interested in forming a Lokayukta, it accused the state government of adopting delaying tactics in the formation of the independent authority. Saying that this was unacceptable on the part of the state government, the court ordered the counsel for the Tamil Nadu government to file the details regarding the steps taken to form a Lokayukta by 2 pm on Wednesday.