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Bihar Assembly passes Lokayukta Bill

The state assembly on Thursday passed the Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that proposes to punish people filing false cases before the anti- corruption ombudsman body to prevent any waste of time or misuse of the institution.

Four other bills passed by the Assembly during the day are the Bihar Municipality (Amendment) Bill, Bihar Taxation Disputes Resolution Bill, Bihar Civil Court Bill and Bihar Appropriation Excess Expenditure (1984-85) Bill.

The Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced by the minister incharge for General Administration Department Bijendra Prasad Yadav and passed by voice vote.

Introducing the bill, Yadav said that the proposed legislation has been brought keeping in view the misuse of the Lokayukta institution in false cases.

Lokayukta carries out expeditious investigation and prosecution relating to allegationS involving corruption against public servants of all grades.

It was proposed by the Lokayukta itelf that there should be a provision for punishing people filing false cases before it, the minister said.

The Lokayukta acts of other states have the provision of punitive action against such erring persons.

The bill proposes that a case against a person filing a false case can be filed in the district court. If the person is found guilty of it or for giving false testimony or filed wrong affidavit, he/she will be sentenced to a jail term of upto three years besides a provision for fine.

Several members who moved amendments to the Bill were of the view that it will dissuade people from approaching the Lokayukta and will work against whistle blowers who expose corruption.

The Bihar Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was tabled by Urban Development and Housing Minister Tarkishore Prasad who said that it proposes recruitment of grade C employees of municipalities at the state level.

It also proposes to introduce Rs 20,000 fine for permanent encroachment and Rs 5,000 for temporary encroachment in municipal areas of the state, Prasad said.

Prasad, who also holds of charge of commercial taxes department, tabled the Bihar Taxation Disputes Resolution Bill, 2021, for one time tax settlement scheme ”Samadhan” in respect of disputes arising out of non clearance of tax dues and penalty imposed prior to July 1, 2017 when Goods and Services Tax was implemented in the country.

The state government had brought the scheme thrice in 2015, 2016 and 2019 and 31,177 applications were received for resolution of tax dues amounting to Rs 1127.55 crore under Samadhan scheme in 2019.

The House also passed by voice vote the Bihar Civil Courts Bill, 2021.

The existing Bengal, Assam Civil Court Act 1887 was enacted by the Centre jointly for the state of Bengal, Agra, Assam and Bihar which was a part of Bengal, Law Minister Pramod Kumar said while introducing the Bill for a debate and passage.

Since Bihar is now a separate state a separate Civil Courts Act is necessary.

On the passage of the Bill, Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said that the passage of the Bill marks a historic moment for the state.

Till now we have been following an act which had been enacted by the British … Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should be congratulated for it, he added.

The Assembly also passed the Bihar Appropriation Excess Expenditure (1984-85) Bill, 2021 by voice vote without any discussion on it.

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