KSU demands appointment of a full bench of Lokayukta

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Demanding the state government to immediately appoint the full bench of the Lokayukta to inquire and trial the allegations of corruption against public functionaries within the state, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) has submitted a letter to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday.

In the letter, KSU Litigation Cell said, “(We) request your office to kindly take up this matter with an urgency to appoint the full bench of the judicial and the non-judicial members so that all these cases of alleged corruption that rise with the duration of time in the state could look into or tried by the said institution, which has been constituted specifically for this purpose so that corruption in the state is minimized and also to avoid contempt of court proceeding against the state for non-compiled with the Apex Court’s order.”

The letter said failing which the union has no other choice but to take necessary steps to pressurize the state government to act as this matter is urgent especially in such a situation where allegations increase massively on various subject-matters from the common citizens.

The State Legislative Assembly had passed the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act in 2014 which is a body for the state of Meghalaya to inquire into the allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries within the state as per the objective of the Act.

According to the provision of the Act, Section 3 has specifically explained that there should be one Chairman and not exceeding four out of whom fifty percent shall be Judicial Members.

The Act was also amended and called the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Act 2019 where a new proviso has been inserted which read: “Provided that no decision of the Lokayukta shall be invalidated due to vacancy created due to the non-availability or non-appointment of the Chairman or members”

The union said that the then state government did not take any step to constitute the Lokayukta till a writ petition was filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhya in the Supreme Court in 2016.

However, it was before the 2018 Assembly polls that the then state government had completed the process of selection of the Chairman and Members.

Stating that Supreme Court in its order passed on October 24, 2018, had directed the state government to appoint Judicial and non-judicial members of the Lokayukta without any delay, the union however said the present government too had wilfully disrespected and underestimated the function and power of the Apex Court of the country and did not appoint the judicial and non-judicial members of the Lokayukta till today but only a Chairperson.

“It is not without any reasoning that the framers of the Lokayukta Act have framed Section 3 that both judicial and non- judicial members are to be appointed; it is surely with proper and strong reasoning that such a section is inserted where it is a necessity that both judicial and non-judicial members should be appointed to the Lokayukta which is an important body to inquire and trial the allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries within the state,” it stated. EOM