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The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed the Lok Ayukta that is purported to investigate charges of corruption against the chief minister, ministers, MLAs as well as government officials. The bill was tabled by fisheries minister D Jayakumar. Under the 1988 Prevention of Corruption Act, complaints can be lodged which will be investigated by Lok Ayukta.

The Lok Ayukta will be headed by a serving or retired High Court judge or experts in the area with over 25 years of experience in public governance or policy related to corruption. There will be four members, two will be from the field of law and justice. The member cannot be an MP, MLA, a convicted person, be less than 45 years old, government officials or representatives of civic  local bodies.

The chief minister will head the selection panel. The Assembly Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition will be members of the panel. The members of the head of the Lok Ayukta will serve for five-year terms or until they turn 70. The secretary of Lok Ayukta will be of at least deputy secretary rank. Further, a person of not less than deputy secretary rank will be the investigating director.

Those who will come under Lok Ayukta’s jurisdiction include chief minister, other ministers, MLAs, former ministers, former MLAs, state officials and employees. Proceeding against central employees would require permission from central government.

DMK and Congress MLAs walked out saying the bill did not vest the Lok Ayukta with enough powers. The bill was passed after they walked out.

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