ORDINANCE SEEKS TO DILUTE KERALA LOKAYUKTA’S POWERS, TRIGGERS ROW

The Kerala government has sent for approval to governor Asif Mohammad Khan an ordinance, which seeks to empower the chief minister or the Cabinet as “competent authority” to either accept or reject verdicts of anti-corruption ombudsman Lokayukta by conducting a final hearing.

The ordinance comes as the Lokayukta is probing three complaints against chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for allegedly misusing funds meant for disaster relief. It has prompted an angry reaction from the Opposition parties, which asked Khan to refuse assent to the executive order seeking to clip Lokayukta’s wings.

People aware of the matter said the executive order was approved at the last Cabinet meeting on Wednesday last and sent for approval discreetly two days back on Saturday. The government rushed with the ordinance as the state assembly is set to meet next month. Ordinances lapse if legislative bodies do not approve laws to replace them within six months.

The ordinance, a person cited above said, says the “competent authority” can go through the verdict in detail and make a decision within three months of the verdict. It has been promulgated as Vijayan is accused of sanctioning lakhs of rupees to the families of former ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) lawmaker K K Ramachandran, former Nationalist Congress Party leader Uzhavoor Vijayan and that of a gunman, who died while on security duty of the party’s state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

News Source : Hindustan Times

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