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Narendra Modi brings new Multi-member Lokayukta

Gandhi Nagar, Mar 23 (): Not reasonably happy over the selection of Justice (retd) RA Mehta as Lokayukta of Gujarat, state Chief Minister Narendra Modi took a tough stand bringing in new Lokayukta Act (amendment) Bill intending to restrict the powers of the governor and the high court chief justice in the selection process.

Talking to reporters, state Finance Minister Nitin Patel told that the government of Gujarat has decided to introduce a new Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013 in the state Assembly on March 26.

The new Bill will likely restore the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1989, added the minister. According to the new plan, the Chief Minister of the state will be brought under the purview of the Lokayukta correspondingly with other ministers for the first time, added Mr Patel.

As per the suggestion of the central government and the 13th Finance Commission, in the draft bill, Lokayukta Aayog would likely be made into a multi-member institution with one Lokayukta and up to four Up-Lokayuktas, said the Minister.

Earlier, a legal battle took place after  Kamla Beniwal decided to go against the suggestion of Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a head of the council of ministers, and appointed Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the new Lokayukta on August 25, 2011 claiming that the post was kept vacant for eight years.

The Chief Minister of the state will be heading a six-member selection panel and the state Law Minister and the Speaker of the Assembly along with opposition leaders and two experts will be considered as members.

According to the draft of the bill, the Governor will have to appoint Lokayukta after it gets an approval from the selection committee. A notice on the issue was also given with the copy of the draft bill notifying about the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013.

The retired Gujarat high court judge, Justice RA Mehta who was appointed as Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal in August 2011, has taken his charge.