The Goa cabinet Wednesday decided to change the deemed “accepted” to “rejected” on action on reports by the Lokayukta if action is not taken within three months even as it will penalise “frivolous” or false complaints with a fine that could range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and even entail a maximum one-year prison sentence.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar however sought to deflect expected criticism by saying that what was frivolous, would be decided by the Lokayukta and not the government. “This is with the Lokayukta and not with government,” Parrikar hastened to add, clarifying that ‘not enough evidence’ will not classify a complaint as frivolous.
The Cabinet also cleared some more amendments to the Goa Lokayukta Act that the government intends to bring during the upcoming assembly session. The chief minister said that one of the amendments would broaden the ambit of the Lokayukta and include corporations, boards, as well as make the Lokayukta post available only for a retired justice of the Supreme Court or chief justice of the High Court. The tenure is also proposed to be increased to five years (till the age of 70 years)
Justifying these amendments, the chief minister pointed out, “Governor has been used as a partisan tool by the Centre.”
According to Section 16 of the Act (Reports of Lokayukta) if, after investigation of any complaint involving an allegation, the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta, as the case may be, is satisfied that such allegation is substantiated either wholly or partly, he shall, submit a report within a period of 90 days from the date of the completion of inquiry to the Government, communicate his findings and recommendations and as far as possible along with the relevant documents and a copy of the report regarding the findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Government.
(b) If, after investigation of any complaint involving a grievance, the Lokayukta or the Upa Lokayukta, is satisfied that in consequence of mal- administration by the public functionary, the complainant has sustained injustice or undue hardship, the Lokayukta or the Upa Lokayukta, shall by a report in writing, recommend to the public functionary and the competent authority concerned, that such injustice or undue hardship shall be remedied or redressed and such report shall be acted upon as far as possible within 60 days and a report shall be sent to the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta accordingly.
(2) The competent authority shall examine the report forwarded to it under sub-section (1), and within three months of the date of receipt of the report, intimate or cause to be intimated to the Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta, as the case may be, the action taken or proposed to be taken, on the basis of the report.
(3) If the Lokayukta or the Upa Lokayukta, as the case may be, is satisfied with the action taken or proposed to be taken on his recommendation referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (1), he shall close the case under information to the complainant, if any, the public functionary and the competent authority concerned, but where he is not satisfied and if he considers that the case so deserves, he may make a special report upon the case to the Governor and also inform the competent authority concerned and the complainant, if any. [H]