With Rajasthan already topping among states for lack of transparency and corruption in various surveys, the two key bodies that enhance transparency and curbs corruption—the Lokayukta and the state information commission—continue to remain headless.
Lokayukta headless since 2019
Notably, complainants are suffering as almost for the past two years, Rajasthan is devoid of a Lokayukta. The post of Lokayukta is lying vacant since March 2019 and Justice (Retd) Sajjan Singh Kothari was the last Lokayukta.
Since there is no Lokayukta, people are unable to get redressal on their grievances against corrupt officials. There are over 4,000 complaints pending with the Lokayukta.
A retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court is appointed as the Lokayukta. Though it is a Constitutional appointment, yet the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government has not made an appointment.
Rajasthan tops corruption list
Interestingly, Rajasthan tops the chart of corrupt states prepared by Transparency International as per a survey undertaken in May 2019. As per the last survey, 78 per cent people, who participated in the survey in Rajasthan, admitted to paying a bribe to get their work done.
Of these 22 per cent paid bribes directly or indirectly to get their work done. Around 22 per cent also said they did not have to pay any bribe.
Rajasthan is followed by Bihar where 75 per cent of citizens admitted that they had paid a bribe to get their work done.
Post of CIC also vacant
Apart from the post of Lokayukta, two key bodies—Rajasthan Information Commission and Women Commission— are also headless.
For the past two years, the office of the women commission is receiving several petitions, but no hearing is taking place.
As far as the Rajasthan Information Commission is concerned, there are around 2,900 matters pending in the Chief Information Commissioner’s (CIC) office. However, there is no CIC in place.
The CIC’s post is being held by a journalist, Ashutosh Sharma, in an acting capacity and even his tenure will come to an end on November 5. However, the state government has started the process to initiate filling the post and also members of the commission known as information commissioners.
Former chief secretary DB Gupta is the likely choice for the post of CIC. Large numbers of IAS and IPS officers, who are on the verge of retirement, have also applied for the position.
Apart from these key bodies, a number of other bodies where political appointments are to be made are lying vacant. It is likely that once the municipal elections get over in the first week of November, the appointment process will start.
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