Agartala: Tripura on Monday amended its Lokayukta Act to bring officials within its purview, with Chief Minister Manik Sarkar saying this would help to check corruption among public functionaries and maintain transparency in governance.

"Tripura government considered it expedient to include the public servants within the purview of Lokayukta Act, so as to give clean, transparent and corruption free administration to the people," Sarkar said in the state assembly before the amendment was approved by the house.

Pradip Kumar Sarkar, former judge of the Gujarat and Gauhati High Courts, was appointed Tripura's Lokayukta in December last year after the president gave assent to the Tripura Lokayukta Act passed by the state assembly in 2008. Officials (public servants) were earlier not included in the act."It is necessary to improve the level of public administration by providing a corruption free, transparent environment," said Sarkar.

Sarkar, who also holds the law portfolio, said the anti-corruption authority would inquire into any accusation and charges against public functionaries from the level of village head to the chief minister.

"If complaints of any irregularity in Tripura are put forward, even from anonymous person, the Lokayukta can take action," he said. Leader of Opposition Ratan Lal Nath and his Congress party, however, termed the Left Front government's Lokayukta Act an eyewash and a farce.

Nath said there were several loopholes in Tripura's Lokayukta Act and suggested the appointment of an eminent person with high integrity to the post."According to the act, Lokayukta has no scope to inquire elected representatives of the Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council though the constitutional autonomous body governs two-thirds of the state's territory," Nath told reporters.

"Only cases or complaint from a one year period against the elected leaders, public functionaries and officials could be inquired into. In the Lokpal bill and in the Lokayukta acts of other states, the period is seven years," he said."In every case, permission of inquiry is required from the higher authority of the person concerned. This provision has also made the act ineffective."

(Agencies)

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