Patna: In a landmark legislation aimed at combating corruption in public life, the state assembly on Wednesday passed by voice vote the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011, for constitution of a strong and effective Lokayukta in the state bringing within its ambit the office of the chief minister, ministers and officials down to the lowest rung.
   
The Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary put the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011 for the voting by the members who passed the historic legislation by a voice.
   
Earlier participating in the debate, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urged the members to back the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011, wholeheartedly to help change the public perception about the political class and restore their faith in the political system.
   
"Let all of us put ourselves to scrutiny by the Lokayukta as we have nothing to fear about," he said in a tone of reassurance to the fellow lawmakers.
   
"The constitution of Lokayukta will help change (positively) public perception about the political class as the parliamentary democracy is the best political system in my view," Kumar said.
   
The Chief Minister strongly defended the provisions of the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011, saying that contours of the proposed law was consistent with the state government's 'zero tolerance' policy towards corruption in public life.   Describing the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011 as 'unique', 'strong' and 'effective', Kumar urged the Centre to incorporate its provisions in the Lokpal bill if the central legislation also intended to cover the Lokayukta under the proposed central legislation.
   
Outlining the contours of the Lokayukta bill, the Chief Minister said that the bill was a strong, effective model. Not only a strong institution of Lokayukta has been proposed, but it has been given unrestricted power to get corruption charges against public servants probed and prosecuted to its logical conclusion.
   
The selection and search committees too have been made with eminent people in public life to take decision in a time-bound manner on the selection and identification of eligible candidates of unimpeachable character and integrity to grace the office of the Lokayukta as its chairman and members.
   
The state government has deliberately kept out the executive in the process of search and selection of suitable candidates as Lokayukta to avoid criticism in this regard, Kumar said.
   
On the opposition's charge accusing the state government of rushing through the Bihar Lokayukta Bill, 2011, in a hurried manner, the Chief Minister said that he had made a commitment to the people to bring such a legislation in this calendar year and he has delivered as much.
   
"I don't need permission of anyone to carry out legislative business as the people have elected my government to discharge duties in the best interests of the state and its people," he said.

Agencies