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File image of Lokayukta of Nagaland, Justice Uma Nath Singh. Image credit: Live Law

Dimapur: The Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation (NVCO) alleged that the Lokayukta office in Nagaland is functioning in total violation of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017.

Referring to the relevant provisions of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017, the NVCO, in a release, said the state government had constituted a search committee consisting of the chief secretary and advocate general of Nagaland after the resignation of the former Nagaland Lokayukta Justice(retired) Uma Nath Singh.

However, the NVCO said, instead of appointing the Nagaland Lokayukta within six months the state government moved for an amendment of the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017 just to keep the said post vacant for one year instead of six months.

It said as per Section 3(9) of the Act, vacancy occurring in the office of Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta should be filled in as soon as possible but not later than six months.

Highlighting the series of events that led to the appointment of a Lokayukta in Nagaland and his subsequent resignation in 2021, the NVCO said the ‘one-year’ timeline for appointing a new Lokayukta in the state expired on February 5, 2022.

“Even after the expiry of one year the present Upa-Lokayukta is still holding and discharging the powers of Nagaland Lokayukta in total violation of Nagaland Lokayukta Act,” it said.

It pointed out that the present Upa-Lokayukta, Mayang Lima, was one of the candidates who contested the last Nagaland Assembly elections on a Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party ticket.

The NVCO said the institution of the Lokayukta has to be revived urgently as the “rate and level of corruption charges in Nagaland is very high be it in the government’s employment sector or in its financial transactions”.

The NVCO cautioned the state government not to commit mistakes while selecting a person for Nagaland Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta as it would amount to playing with the highest institution in the state which is in dire need to check the corrupt public servants and punish them.

It also asked the politicians not to lobby for their own candidate if at all they support the institution to truly function as per the Act.

The NVCO appealed to the public to come forward to voice for strong Lokayukta in Nagaland so the right person with integrity and a willing heart to truly curb corruption is appointed.

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