Punjab cabinet on Monday cleared the draft Punjab Lokayukta Bill
The state cabinet on Monday cleared the draft Punjab Lokayukta Bill that allows prosecution of MLAs, including the Chief Minister, if two-thirds of the assembly approves. The bill to be introduced in the current Budget session seeks to replace the Punjab Lokpal Act, 1996 and will cover all public functionaries.
"Now the prosecution of the chief minister, ministers and MLAs will require the approval of the two-third members of the House," a spokesperson said, adding that the new condition has been introduced to stop the "misuse" of the anti-corruption watchdog through "frivolous" complaint.
"The new legislation will cover all levels of public functionaries, up to the chief minister and ministers, with an aim of checking corruption," he said.
He said the lokayukta will have all powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. "It will provide for prosecution in case of a false complaint," he added.
The legislation bars a parallel probe into a complaint against any officer or public functionary if an inquiry is being conducted into the matter by the lokayukta. He, however, said the lokayukta will not have the authority to conduct a parallel inquiry into the matter already under investigation by the government.
"All sanctions by the assembly, whether or not permission to prosecute is granted, will be binding on the lokayukta," the spokesman said.
The four-member anti-corruption watchdog will have a chairperson, who is or has been a judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court. At least one member will be from among people belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Other Backward Classes, minorities, or women.