No basic change to Ombudsman Act : Tamil Nadu CM

The Assembly on Monday adopted a Bill to amend the Local Bodies Ombudsman Act, but it was not without objections from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

When the Bill was taken up for consideration, the CPI (M) whip K. Balakrishnan said that the amendment sought to provide scope for appointing even a retired official as ombudsman. In response, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani said the amendment had been proposed to have a wider pool of eligible officers to be appointed as ombudsman.

Originally, “a person who has been an officer of the Government not below the rank of Principal Secretary” to the State government could be appointed. As per the amendment, a person “who was and/or has been an officer of the Government not below the rank of Secretary” could also be made.

When the DMK deputy leader Durai Murugan endorsed the position of Mr. Balakrishnan, Leader of House Natham R. Viswanathan chided him for attempting to create an “unnecessary trouble” and said even now a serving official could be appointed to the post.

Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said no basic change was being done through the amendment. DMK floor leader M.K. Stalin got up to speak, but was not allowed to make his point. This prompted him and his colleagues to stage a walkout.