J&K has two commissions similar to Lokayukta, SC told

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New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the state doesn’t require a Lokayukta as there are already two commissions created under the state laws which comprehensively covered the scope of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

As the state said the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act, 2002, and the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011, were similar to the Lokayukta Act of 2013, the apex court said that it doesn’t know to “whether these are on par with the Lokayukta Act”.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Navin Sinha said: “You have a parallel set-up (Accountability Commission) headed by a retired chief justice and comprises of two retired judges. You also have a Vigilance Commission.

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“You say these two commissions are adequate and you say that in view of the peculiarity of your Constitution, Lokayukta is not needed… We do not know to what extent your accountability commission and vigilance commission act… whether they are on par with the Lokayukta Act.”

The court was hearing plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for appointment of Lokayuktas in all states.

The petitioner has alleged that many state governments were deliberately weakening the Lokayukta by not providing adequate infrastructure, sufficient budget and workforce.

During the hearing, Tamil Nadu said the Tamil Nadu Lokayukta Bill has been passed by the assembly and statutory requirements will take two months.

West Bengal told the bench that the draft of the West Bengal Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill would be placed before the assembly in the next session likely to commence from July 20.

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