Odisha Lokayukta Seeks Jurisdiction Over Vigilance Directorate

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Lokayukta has suggested the state governmwnt to put the Vigilance Directorate under its jurisdiction.

“The state government should endeavour to bring the Directorate of Vigilance under Lokayukta as it will not only enhance the trust and credibility of Lokayukta but also of the Vigilance amongst the people of Odisha,” the anti-corruption ombudsman said in its first annual report.

Besides, the Lokayukta has urged the government to immediately notify the Odisha Lokayukta (Procedure of filing Complaint) Rules, 2019, Odisha Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2019 and Odisha Lokayukta (Appointment and conditions of service of Secretary, Officers and staff) Regulations-2019 for its effective functioning.

The Lokayukta has also sought the appointment of two legal experts. It stated that the need for legal assistance was regularly felt during hearings to explain the government’s welfare schemes as well as instructions and guidelines on the implementation of schemes and other related legal issues.

It also referred to Section 22 of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, which stipulates that the Lokayukta may require any public servant to furnish information or produce documents relevant to preliminary inquiry or investigation. The report, however, stated that on the contrary, experience shows that sometimes government officials do not respond to the notices issued by the Lokayukta, even though the proceedings before it are deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of Section 193 of the IPC, 1860.

Taking this into consideration, the government may consider issuing advisory to all the departmental heads and other offices to promptly respond to the notices/instructions for speedy disposal of matters, the report added.

Apart from this, the Lokayukta has also proposed separate land of two acres with an office building of 15,000 sq ft as it will require more space for about 150 staffers of different cadres who will be appointed by the state government very soon.

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