Nagaland: ACAUT reacts to petition for removal of Lokayukta

The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation  on September 30 terms the writ petition filed by the Government of Nagaland in the Supreme Court for the removal of the Lokayukta as a move as ‘devoid of sound judgment’.
The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation on September 30 terms the writ petition filed by the Government of Nagaland in the Supreme Court for the removal of the Lokayukta as a move as ‘devoid of sound judgment’.

Urges govt to introduce measures to strengthen Lokayukta

Dimapur, September 30 (MExN): The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) on Wednesday reacted to the writ petition filed by the Government of Nagaland in the Supreme Court for the removal of the Lokayukta.

Stating that the Lokayukta is seen as someone who would ‘cleanse the rot in the system’, ACAUT termed the move of the government as ‘devoid of sound judgment’.

It further questioned how a Upa- Lokayukta could hold the powers and functions of Lokayukta when the incumbent Upa- Lokayukta does not possess the required qualification and criteria to be the Lokayukta as per the Lokayukta Act.

“It is expected of the popularly elected government to make tangible allegations against the accused, if any, based on justifiable and objective allegations, rather than personal habits and eccentricities,” it added.

It reminded the government that “the days of unhindered corruption cannot continue and it must reconcile to this new reality.”

The Committee pointed out the recent letter of the Governor which “alluded to reports of CAG on siphoning off of funds with impunity across various departments.”

“…it has also been found out that the misuse of substantial chunk of the development funds is solely attributed to rampant corruption,” it added.

While Lokayukta Bill was passed after a long drawn battle, it is rendered toothless in the face of the issues raised by the Governor, ACAUT added.

In this regard, ACAUT urged the government to appoint a full-fledged Registrar for Lokayukta.

It also sought the strengthening of Lokayukta police, especially the investigation wing.

In most states, the Lokayukta or Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption are headed by officers equivalent to the rank of additional DGP or a senior officer of at least 25 years as a IPS cadre, it said.

Assuming that the CAG objections need to be probed, the current staff strength is minuscule, ACAUT stated.

It also stressed the need for the Lokayukta Police to have offices in other districts of the State like Dimapur, Mokokchung and Tuensang, with each establishment being headed by a DIG/SSP and commensurate staff for investigation and support.

The Nagaland Lokayukta does not have framed rules, it stated, and called for the government to see to it on priority basis, after due consultations with the Lokayukta and civil societies.

It further urged the government to select “eligible candidates with impeccable integrity without any political leaning” for various vacant posts without further delay.

ACAUT also sought adequate funds should be provided to Lokayukta for creating public awareness about corruption.

These measures, according to ACAUT, are needed so that “the people's trust in the Institution does not die an untimely and premature demise.”