mizo politicsAIZAWL, June 3: Corruption watchdog-turned-political party PRISM (People’s Representatives for Identity and Status of Mizoram) has taken a strong exception to Mizoram Government’s decision to form a fresh search committee for Lokayukta to overrule a search committee it had already formed in 2016. PRISM president Vanlalruata said in a press conference on Friday that the government had constituted a search committee on November 3, 2016 to propose chairman and members of Lokayukta. The search committee had recommended retired law official P Singthanga as chairperson, law secretary as member secretary, and seven other members including PRISM president Vanlalruata himself. “The search committee sat four times, once in 2016 and thrice in 2017.

The committee made recommendations to be approved by the Selection Committee. One and a half year after the recommendations, the government has not made any appointment. Instead, it has decided to form a fresh search committee, which is a clear violation of the rules,” Vanlalruata said. PRISM president accused the Congress Government of failing to fulfill its electoral promise to set up Lokayukta and dilly-dallying on it. “Before the 2008 elections, the Congress party promised the people to set up a Vigilance Commission. It failed to do so during its first term. 

Before the 2013 elections, it again promised to form Lokayukta. The second term is now almost over, the Congress party’s promise has fallen flat,” Vanlalruata said. He accused the Congress Government of being afraid to set up Lokayukta or any other anti-corruption mechanism because its Ministers and MLAs are not free from corruption. “The decision to form yet another search committee, besides being a breach of rules, is a delaying tactic played by the Congress Government,” he said. Vanlalruata said that if his party comes to power, it would form Lokayukta within six months. In April last, Mizoram Government said the State Lokayukta Drafting Committee completed the draft Lokayukta Bill, 2014 and uploaded the Bill in the State Law department’s website. 

Law officials said that anyone who has suggestions for changes, deletion and addition could submit to the Law Secretary within a month. Meanwhile, State Law Minister Lalsawta said that formation of the State Ombudsman could take time as the State Government was waiting for the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission for expenses for creation of the Lokayukta. “We are fully dependent on the fund to be allocated by the 14th Finance Commission for creation of the State’s anti corruption body”, Lalsawta said  

-Correspondent, Assam Tribune

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