New Delhi: With the deck of Lokpal Bill cleared by the Centre, the campaign for strengthening the Lokayukta (Ombudsman) institution in the states is now gaining momentum. Several state governments have accelerated their efforts in this connection.

While the Lokayukta in Delhi has made the initiative himself, the Karnataka government, which has been the at the centre of controversy following the corruption cases, has outrightly declared for giving additional and more rights to the Lokayukta. 

However, the fate of selection process of Lokayukta and purview of his rights would, to a great extent depend on the Centre’s new Lokpal Bill.

According to the sources, sensing gravity of the issue, the two major parties namely the Congress and the BJP have cautioned their governments in the respective states about the institution of Lokayukta.

BJP-ruled governments are leading the Congress-led governments in the states for providing more powers to the Lokayukta.

Lokayukta of Delhi, Justice Manmohan Sareen has also stated the need for giving financial and administrative autonomy to the Lokayukta of the capital like other states.

It is now to be seen whether the Prime Minister comes under the ambit of Lokpal Bill or not and if there would be any right to register an FIR directly against a politician or a bureaucrat.

Former Lokayukta of Karnataka and one of the members of the joint committee on Lokpal Bill, Santosh Hegde says, “Weakening of the bill at the Centre would pave a wave for the states. The corruption affecting common man mainly exists in the state administration. And with the stringent law, the Centre has to draw a line for the states.”

Among the states in which Lokayukta have been given some powers include Karnataka, where Lokayukta police can directly register FIR against the tainted politicians and bureaucrats.

Former Lokayukta Hegde had virtually shown Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa the power of the institution. However, in the absence of clear and influential law, the Lokayukta system had to give up later.

JPN/Bureau