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ACAUT has demanded that chief minister Neiphiu Rio immediately constitute Lokayukta in the State.
In a memorandum to the chief minister, ACAUT chairman Tia Longchar, co-chairman Simon Kelio and secretary Hetoi Chishi asserted that Lokayukta would go a long way in curbing corruption, bring about transparency in the system, make administrative machinery citizen-friendly and establish the rule of law.
Referring to his public statements on bringing transparency and accountability in governance, they hoped his government would not miss the opportunity of implementing the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 at the earliest.
Pointing out that the Nagaland government had in April 2018 this year filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that the process for appointment of Lokayukta was on, the ACAUT said no appointment had been made by his government. The apex court had on July 10 granted three months to the States, including Nagaland, to appoint Lokayuktas (by October 10, 2018).
ACAUT suggested the government not to wait for the Supreme Court deadline, but go ahead and appoint Lokayukta at the earliest.
After the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 was given assent by the governor on December 21 that year, the Nagaland Gazette issued a notification publishing the Act for general information on January 31, 2018. However, till date the Act remains only on paper.
Referring to the NDPP election campaign that promised change and reform, including fighting against “corruption, centralisation of power and restoration of rule of law in the State”, ACAUT urged Rio to immediately set up Lokayukta in Nagaland.
ACAUT also recalled how the mammoth rally under its aegis at Kohima in 2014 had adopted a public resolution demanding passing of Lokayukta Bill. And in the following year, “Walk Against Corruption” was organised in which more than 70 volunteers and led by ACAUT leaders walked from Dimapur to Kohima to submit a representation to then chief minister TR Zeliang demanding passing of the Lokayukta Bill in the Assembly.
Following consistent pressure, the NGO claimed that the Zeliang government formed a Standing Committee on Lokayukta, headed by MLA Er Levi Rengma and including four other legislators, in 2015. Though the committee had submitted draft Lokayukta for discussion in the Assembly, the bill was kept in cold storage and not introduced in the Assembly for almost two years.
Left with no option, the stakeholders formed Public Coordination Committee (PCC) in 2017 comprising ACAUT, PSAN and 16 other like-minded organizations, which took to the street and undertook hunger strike between October and December 2017. One of PAC’s charters of demands was the demand to pass the Lokayukta Bill in winter session of the Assembly in 2017.
Following this, the Standing Committee on Lokayukta invited ACAUT leaders for discussion on the final Lokayukta draft on two occasions and a consensus was arrived at, following which a green signal given to the committee for passage of the final draft Bill in the winter session of the Assembly in 2017.