Corruption watchdog reiterates demand for Lokayukta in Nagaland

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DIMAPUR, Sept 18 (Newmai): An anti-corruption body of Nagaland, Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) Nagaland Tuesday urged chief minister Neiphiu Rio to have Lokayukta in the state at the earliest.
The ACAUT Nagaland said “the all important legislation”—the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 was duly given assent by the governor of Nagaland on December 21, 2017. Following this, on January 31, 2018, the Nagaland Gazette issued a notification publishing the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 for general information. However, as of today the Lokayukta Act remains only on paper, the ACAUT Nagaland said.
Recalling the past events on its campaign to have Lokayukta in Nagaland, the ACAUT reminded the chief minister of the mammoth ACAUT rally 2014 held in Kohima which adopted a public resolution for the passing of the Lokayukta Bill in Nagaland.
The T. R. Zeliang government formed a Standing Committee on Lokayukta headed by Er. Levi Rengma, MLA, and four other MLAs in 2015.
Later, the committee submitted the draft Lokayukta Bill for discussion in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately, the Bill was never introduced for passage in the Assembly but kept in cold storage for almost two years, the ACAUT Nagaland added.
“Left with no option, the stakeholders formed the Public Coordination Committee (PCC) in 2017 comprising of ACAUT and PSAN and 16 other like- minded organisations, taking to the street as well as undertaking hunger strike, between the months of October – December 2017. One of its charters of demands was the demand to pass the Lokayukta Bill in the winter session of the assembly, 2017,” the ACAUT Nagaland also said.
According to the ACAUT Nagaland, following this, the Standing Committee on Lokayukta invited the ACAUT for discussion on the final Lokayukta draft on two occasions, and whereupon, consensus was arrived at and the green signal given to the committee for passage of the final draft bill in the winter session of the assembly in 2017.
“Thus far, the ACAUT has been most consistent and persistent for the passing and implementation of Lokayukta, which will root out the cancerous growth of corruption in our state and bring about some resemblance of progress and development in the state,” it also stated.
It then pointed out that the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) campaigned with the promise to change and reform. “In fact, the NDPP promised during the election campaign that it will fight against corruption, centralization of power, and restore Rule of Law in the state. With the public commitment by both your party and the PDA government towards good governance and transparency, we put forward our request for immediate setting up of Lokayukta body for the state,” the ACAUT Nagaland added.
“As you are well aware, sir, having the office of the Lokayukta, will go a long way to put a check on corruption, bring about transparency in the system and make administrative machinery citizen friendly and establish the rule of law,” it also told the chief minister.
“We believe, as you have also stated in public, that transparency and accountability are needed in providing good governance to the people. We hope your government will not miss out on this opportunity to implement the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 at the earliest,” the ACAUT added.
The ACAUT Nagaland then stated that it understood that during April 2018 the Government of Nagaland has filed before the Supreme Court an affidavit explaining that the process is on for the appointment of the Lokayukta in Nagaland.
“However no such appointment of the Lokayukta has been made by your government,” it added.
The apex court on July 10 has now granted three more months to the States, including Nagaland, to appoint their respective Lokayukta (by October 10, 2018).
“That sir, your government should not wait for the Supreme Court deadline but go ahead and have the Lokayukta at the earliest,” the ACAUT Nagaland further urged.

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