BJP National Executive Member & J&K Chief Spokesperson Dr Jitendra Singh appealed today to the State coalition government to bring in a legislation in the next session of Legislative Assembly to appoint State Lokayukta.
He said, with the Parliament almost unanimous on Lokpal bill and the National Conference also supporting it,this is a strange contradiction that for the State of Jammu & Kashmir which has been rated as among the three most corrupt States in the country, the same National Conference led government finds no need to appoint a Lokayukta.
Dr Jitendra Singh observed,it is already too late considering the fact that most of the leading States of India already have a Lokayukta.While Maharashtra was the first State to introduce Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act way back in 1971, he said,similar acts have subsequently been enacted by the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Goa.
It is embarrassing that J&K enjoys the dubious distinction of being in the bracket of a handful of peripheral States like Arunachal Pradesh,Manipur,Meghalaya,Mizoram,Tripura, etc which are yet to enact a provision for Lokayukta ,he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh accused certain coalition ministers of issuing misleading statements that in J&K,legislation for “Lokayukta” can not be brought in because of Article 370.He said,this is not true and and clarified that as per the constitution,the “Lokayukta” provision can be brought in “notwithstanding any other provision” and this implies “notwithstanding Article 370” as well.
Making a dig, Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out,National Conference government was among the first State governments in the country to have adopted POTA (Prevention Of Terrorism Act) and at that time it did not care for Article 370 because it was faced with the heat of militancy but it gets suddenly reminded of Article 370 when it comes to public welfare legislations which donot suit it, be it “Lokayukta” or 73rd, 74th amendment for Panchayats or 44th amendment reducing the term of Legislature Assembly to five years.
Contesting the National Conference led Government’s claim that there was no need for special laws like Lokayukta in J&K as the State already had such provisions,Dr Jitendra Singh alleged, this is only an alibi to escape from being entrapped in a series of scams and corruption cases involving several ministers and other high-ups.
The State Accountability Commission and State Vigilance Organisation have failed to make any perceptible impact and infact have been systematically,by design,reduced to be toothless organizations,he said.The fact that several officers facing serious charges of corruption continue to enjoy lucrative postings raises a serious question mark on the intentions of the government with regard to rooting out corruption,he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh advised the State government to read the writing on the wall lest it should be forced by a mass movement to hold itself accountable in the same manner as has been witnessed in some other States of the country.