He said that the bill will be introduced in the ongoing Assembly session.

"Since the Lokpal has now come at the national level, the state will also bring a bill to strengthen the existing Lokayukta," he said.

Interestingly, the previous government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2012 passed amendments to the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act, 1983 - in absence of the opposition Congress in the Assembly - not only to give the ombudsman constitutional and comprehensive powers but also contempt of court powers on par with the High Court.

"The bill has been sent to the president for his consent by the previous government and has been withdrawn by the present government," said an official.

The government's new bill will repeal the existing act and replace it to make it more effective; the official said.

(Agencies)
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