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Rajasthan Assembly Passes Bill to Reduce Tenure of Lokayukta to 5 Years

File photo of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly building. (Photo courtesy: rajassembly.nic.in)

File photo of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly building. (Photo courtesy: rajassembly.nic.in)

The bill was presented by Energy Minister B D Kalla in the House on behalf of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and was passed by voice vote.

Jaipur: The Rajasthan assembly on Monday passed the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokyuktas (amendment) Bill to reduce the tenure of the Lokayukta from earlier eight years to five years.

The bill was presented by Energy Minister B D Kalla in the House on behalf of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and was passed by voice vote.

Under the amendment in the bill, which was brought to replace an ordinance issued in March this year, the tenure of the Lokayukta has been reduced to five years from eight years. The previous BJP government had increased the Lokayukta's tenure to eight years from five years last year.

"Recently, the term of office of the Lokayukta was increased from five years to eight years by amending section 5 of the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act, 1973. But in most of the states of the country the Lokayukta holds the office for a term of five years.

"Moreover, the term of the chairperson under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (Central Act No. 1 of 2014) is also five years," the statement of objects and reasons of the bill said.

"In order to maintain parity with the term of Lokayukta in other states of the country and, chairperson of Lokpal in the centre, it was decided by the state government that term of five years is adequate for the office of the Lokayukta," it further said.

During the debate on the bill, heated arguments broke out between speaker C P Joshi and deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore when the latter was asked to be specific on the topic. Rathore questioned the circumstance in which the government brought the ordinance to reduce the tenure of the Lokayukta.

He alleged that the government brought the ordinance to protect 54 officials and employees, who were recommended for action by the Lokayukta in a case related to illegal allotment of mines. The speaker intervened asked to speak on the scope of the subject.

Leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria also supported Rathore and questioned why the tenure was being reduced. Congress MLA and former speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat intervened and said the assembly has a tradition to never challenge the chair.

Minister Kalla said in majority of the states across the country, the tenure of the Lokayukta is five years and the amendment is brought to being uniformity. "When the tenure of country's Lokpal is five years then why it can't be done in Rajasthan," he said.

Earlier, during Zero Hour, legislators raised the issue of locust attack in western parts of the state. BJP MLA Narayan Singh Deval said the situation is bad in districts such as Jalore, Jaisalmer and Barmer.

Rathore said after 26 years, possibilities are developing that locust might damage the entire crop in eight districts of Rajasthan. Agriculture Minister Lal Chand Kataria in his reply said locusts were proceeding from Pakistan towards border districts of Rajasthan.

"The entire issue is monitored by the state and the centre teams," he said, adding spraying was being done in the affected areas.

first published:July 08, 2019, 23:15 IST