The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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J&K passes clean-up Bill

Jammu, Nov. 26: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly today unanimously passed a much-diluted Accountability Commission Bill after incorporating a host amendments mostly moved by the main Opposition party, the National Conference.

The Treasury Benches had to bow to the suggestion of the Opposition in removing the provision of the seven-year period within which a complaint could be taken up against a public functionary.

The government also accepted the amendment that a committee comprising the Chief Justice and two senior-most judges of Jammu and Kashmir High Court should be set up for selecting the chairman and members of the commission instead of a seven-member committee headed by the chief minister.

The suggestions were mostly moved by former National Conference minister Abdul Rahim Rather, who pointed out flaws in the legislation tabled by law and parliamentary affairs minister Muzzaffar Hussein Beig. This is the first time that the state has passed a Bill to ensure clean administration and accountability at all levels, including the chief minister, ministers and legislators.

Beig said he was instructed by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to accommodate the Opposition’s point of view. While concluding the debate on the points raised by the members, he said the previous National Conference government could not table the Bill because of a “conspiracy” by bureaucrats.

Earlier, the members, while welcoming the Bill, had voiced apprehension that its provisions may be used by the government to harass political opponents. But Beig said sufficient safeguards exist in the Bill to prevent such misuse.

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