Do you know what does Lokpal of India do? The Lokpal and Lokayukta act was passed in 2013. Under this act administrative and legislative officers, even the Prime Minister of our country can also be charged for practicing corruption. This makes this topic important for the UPSC and IAS exam. Read the article till the end to know all about it.
What does Lokpal of India do?
The word Lokpal means “Caretaker of people”.
It is an anti-corruption organization or “Ombudsman” made to specially deal with the cases of corruption against alleged administrative as well as legislative officers.
Tackling issues like corruption and maladministration is the main goal of the Lokpal act.
The decision to form it was taken to come up with an efficient way to check the problems of administration so the Supreme Court would have fewer burdens.
Though the Bill was passed in 2013, it was implemented in 2014
Lokpal Organization Structure
- It consists up to eight members excluding the chairperson (Lokpal of India).50% of them are Judicial Member
- Also, 50 % of the members should be SC/ST/OBC/Minorities and women.
- The President of India is responsible for appointing the Members.
- The Member and Chairperson work for a term of five years or till they have reached the age of 70.
- The organization has divided its work into two main branches,
- The Administrative Branch
This branch is headed by an officer of the rank of secretary to govt. of India
- The Judicial Branch
This branch is headed by a Judicial officer who also assists the Lokpal in judicial functions.
Pinaki Chandra Ghose-India’s First Lokpal
Pinaki Chandra Ghose, former Supreme Court judge was appointed as the first Lokpal of India in 2019, five years after the Lokpal act was notified by the Supreme Court. Justice Ghose was also a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The Lokpal of India is appointed by a five mender committee including:
- Prime Minister
- Lok Sabha speaker
- Chief Justice of India (CJI)
- Leader of Opposition (LoP)
- An eminent Jurist nominated by the President
The process of selection of the first Lokpal was delayed due to the absence of LoP. Later, the Supreme Court ordered to not further delay the appointment because of the absence of LoP.
Who Is Appointed as the Chairman?
- Only the former Chief Justice of India or former Supreme Court Judge or an eminent person with at least 25 years of experience in the domain of anti-corruption policy, public administration, etc. are eligible to be considered as Lokpal of India.
- Former Justice of Supreme court Pinaki Chandra Ghose is the present Lokpal of India.
Lokpal Complainant Rules
- lt has jurisdiction to inquire against public servants only for those offenses as mentioned under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
- The Lokpal, cannot administer the complaint concerning Central government servants, and they shall forward the complaints to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
- The person who is complaining should submit his or her valid proof of identity. If the person is non-Indian then, the only passport is accepted as valid proof of identity
- If the complaint is done electronically then the hard copy of valid proof of identity should be submitted in the next 15 days to the Lokpal.
- Complaint against any public servant working in defense is not permitted.
- The language of the complaint can be English or any one language referred to in the Eighth Schedule in the Constitution of India.
How Lokpal Functions?
- There are no limits on who can file the complainant and as the complainant is received Lokpal can order to begin with the preliminary inquiry with help of an investigation agency such as CBI.
- Such preliminary inquiry shall be completed and submit a report within 60 days.
- Lokpal shall allow the alleged public officer to explain his side.
- After going through the report of the preliminary inquiry and allowing the accused public officer to clear his side, if Lokpal has reasonable reason to believe they may order for a full investigation.
- After the completion of the investigation, the investigating agency shall submit its report before the appropriate jurisdiction court and a copy has to be given to Lokpal.
- The Lokpal is granted with the following authority for investigation,
Ø Power to search and seizure
Ø Power to the attachment of assets
Ø To summon a witness or document.
Ø Also, power is mentioned under the civil producer code.
- The allegation against the Prime Minister is not permitted if it is related to international affairs, external and internal security, public order, and space.
- The initiations of an inquiry against the Prime Minister can be considered only if at least two-thirds of the committee members give their approval.
- If the committee members approve such an inquiry, then it should be held in camera.
- If the Lokpal approves to dismiss the charge, then the records of inquiry would be made confidential.
What is Lokayukta?
- Under section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, every state has to establish a body named as Lokayukta to deal with the complaint of corruption against state public servants.
- The main difference between Lokpal and Lokayukta is that the Lokpal is constituted at the national level and Lokayukta is constituted at the state level.
- Some states like Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, West Bengal, and Arunachal Pradesh have not appointed any Lokayukta yet.
After the Lokpal and Lokayukta act was implemented in the year 2014 by the Supreme Court. India’s first Lokpal committee was appointed in 2019. The delay was due to the absence of LoP.
If the complaint is against the Prime Minister, the Lokpal has to follow certain protocols to proceed.
There are still many states who have not yet constituted the Lokayukta.