Why Municipal Ombudsman not appointed ?

Again, another glaring instance of how a mechanism to contain corruption in the administrative system is befuddled and obfuscated can be seen by there being an appropriate Act passed by the state legislature in 2010 but never implemented so far in respect of establishing Municipal Ombudsman for purpose of investigating charges of corruption or maladministration in the Urban Local Bodies in the State. From the year 2010 to 2018 there were no duly elected local bodies in the state but thanks to the bold initiative of the Governor and fully supported by the Central Government, we in this State saw ending last year elections to these Bodies. However, even two months after the culmination of successful elections say on Oct 17, 2018 – no efforts have been made for implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Ombudsman Act . We cannot dispute the argument that when all these years since the said Act was enacted, no efforts towards any process towards implementation were taken by the State Governments , two months in comparison with “those standards” are too small but some preparations or administrative activities etc too are nowhere in sight to get a sense of the appointment of the Municipal Ombudsman being round the corner.
The importance of the institution of Municipal Ombudsman can be gauged from the fact that under the Act , this authority has been given the powers to investigate into any allegations contained in an application or on reference from the Government; inquire into any complaint in which corruption or maladministration of a public servant or a Municipality is alleged . The Ombudsman can, under such circumstances, pass an order in respect of the allegation where the irregularity involves offence committed by a public servant , which had caused any loss to a citizen or made to face any inconvenience to him or her, in that case the Municipality could be asked to give compensation to such an aggrieved person and to recover the amount of reimbursement of the loss from the person responsible for the irregularity. In matters involving criminal offence , the Ombudsman is vested with the powers to recommend initiation of prosecution as well. Looking so much assured and attractive vis-a-vis the interests of a citizen, this arrangement backed by statutory backing calls for implementation at the earliest.
No one can dispute the element of corruption having made deep inroads into every sphere of the system of governance in the state , the same scourge inflicting our Local Bodies too could not be ruled out especially in the wake of massive funds base proposed to be provided to these Bodies . It may be recalled that in the recent past, the Governor in exercise of powers vested under proclamation of June 20, 2018 had amended J & K Municipal Ombudsman Act 2010 . The idea behind the amendment was primarily carried out to pave the way for appointment of this Municipal authority cum adjudicator during the Governor’s rule and that too on the recommendations of a Committee comprising one of the Advisors to the Governor and the Chief Secretary on the pattern of the laid down procedure as going back to the original Act of 2010, wherein it was mentioned that appointment of this Municipal authority or the Ombudsman shall be made on the recommendations of a Committee comprising the Chief Minister , Chairman of the Legislative Council, Speaker of Legislative Assembly, and the leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly. The amendments recently made in respect of eligibility criteria was enhanced and besides Judge of the High Court, there was a provision of appointment of a person who had held the post of Commissioner /Secretary to the Government or equivalent rank. With these administrative and legislative flexibilities, appointment of this much desired top watchful and regulating authority becomes not only important but a necessity as well. The only question is now how early a decision was taken in this respect.