Patil non-committal on constitutional powers to Lok Ayukta

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Bangalore, Sep 23 (UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today remained non-committal about the long standing demand of giving constitutional powers to Lok Ayuktas and Lok Pals, saying it needed a consensus among the Union and State Governments.

Speaking at the valedictory function of the IX Conference of All India Lok Ayukta, Lok Pal and Upa Lok Ayuktas here today, he said the Centre was seriously studying the demand for giving constitutional powers and bringing uniform law in all States, but the main problem was arriving at a consensus among the Centre and the State Governments.

''I can neither say 'yes' or 'no' to the demand, but can assure that the government is serious about it,'' he said.

Mr Patil said once the Lok Ayuktas and Lok Pals were given extra powers, there could be similar demands from Human Rights Commission, National Integration Commission or even Planning Commission.

He said the government should be careful while taking a decision in this regard. ''We have to make sure that empowering officials like Lok Ayukta will not lead to overlapping of jurisdiction of law enforcing agencies,'' he said.

''Giving additional powers has national, international, social and cultural implications. Government is sensitive to the issue, but consensus will be the main factor,'' he explained.

The Minister said separation of power had helped in effective implementation of people-friendly policies. ''There is no use in just bringing in good policies and not implementing it effectively.

Presence of courts has been helpful in this regard. But there is too much of pressure on courts in India like shortage of staff, lack of infrastructure and burgeoning number of cases,'' he added.

UNI

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