LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS

 

LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS

  “The countrymen should not lose this spirit, this is our fight against corruption” – Anna Hazare

To prepare for INDIAN POLITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the Lokpal and Lokayuktas. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II.). Important Lokpal and Lokayuktas terms are important from the polity and governance perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams.

In this article, you can read about the Basics, Background, Objectives, Composition, tenure, Functions etc about Lokpal and Lokayuktas for the UPSC.

BACKGROUND
  • In 1809, the institution of ombudsman was inaugurated officially in Sweden.
  • In India, the concept of constitutional ombudsman was first proposed by the then law minister Ashok Kumar Sen in parliament in the early 1960s.
  • The term Lokpal and Lokayukta were coined by Dr. L. M. Singhvi.
  • In 1966, the First Administrative Reforms Commission recommended the setting up of two independent authorities-at the central and state level, to look into complaints against public functionaries, including MPs.
  • In 2005, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by Veerappa Moilyrecommended that the office of Lokpal should be established without delay.
  • “India Against Corruption movement” led by Anna Hazare put pressure on the UPA govt. at the Centre and resulted in the passing of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013, in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • It received assent from President on 1 January 2014 and came into force on 16 January 2014.
  • The institution of ombudsman is based on the doctrine of administrative accountability to legislature

 

 

GLOBAL SCENARIO
  • The success of democracy and the realisation of socio-economic development depends on the extent to which the citizens’ grievances are redressed.
  • Therefore, the following institutional devices have been created in different parts of the world to deal with the redressal of these grievances:

 

BACKGROUND
  • The earliest democratic institution created in the world for the redressal of citizens’ grievance is the Scandinavian institution of Ombudsman.
  • The institution of Ombudsman was first created in Sweden in 1809. ‘Ombud’ is a Swedish term and refers to a person who acts as the representative or spokesman of another person.
  • The Swedish Ombudsman deals with the citizens’ grievances in the following matters:
  • Abuse of administrative discretion, that is, misuse of official power and authority
  • Maladministration, that is, inefficiency in achieving the targets
  • Administrative corruption, that is, demanding bribery for doing things
  • Nepotism, that is supporting one’s own kith and kin in matters like providing employment
  • Discourtesy, that is, misbehaviour of various kinds, for instance, use of abusive language.
  • The Swedish Ombudsman is appointed by the Parliament for a term of four years and can be removed only by the Parliament on ground of its loss of confidence in him.
  • The Ombudsman is a constitutional authority and enjoys the powers to supervise the compliance of laws and regulations by the public officials, and see that they discharge their duties properly.
  • Overall, the characteristics of the Swedish institution of Ombudsman are as follows:
    • Independence of action from the executive
    • Impartial and objective investigation of complaints
    • Suo moto power to start investigations
    • Uninterrupted access to all the files of administration
    • Right to report to the Parliament as opposed to the executive;
    • Wide publicity given to its working in press and other media
    • Direct, simple, informal, cheap and speedy method of handling complaints
  • From Sweden, the institution of Ombudsman spread to other Scandinavian countries– Finland (1919), Denmark (1955) and Norway (1962).
  • New Zealand is the first Commonwealth Country to adopt Ombudsman in
  • Later UK adopted the ombudsman in 1967
  • Since then, more than 40 counties of the world have adopted Ombudsman-like institutions with different nomenclature and functions

 

COMPOSITION AND TENURE
  • Lokpal is a multi-member body that consists of one chairperson and a maximum of 8 members (1+8)
  • Chairperson of the Lokpal should be either the former Chief Justice of India or the former Judge of Supreme Court or an eminent person with impeccable integrity and outstanding ability, having special knowledge and expertise of minimum 25 years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management.
  • Out of the maximum eight members, half will be judicial members and minimum 50% of the Members will be from SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities and women.
  • The judicial member of the Lokpal either a former Judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a HIGH COURT.
  • The term of office for Lokpal Chairman and Members is 5 years or till the age of 70 years.

 

APPOINTMENT PROCESS

 

  • A search committee which recommends a panel of names to the high-power selection committee.
  • The members are appointed by the presidenton the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
  • President will appoint the recommended names.
Selection Committee
1 Prime Minister who is the Chairperson;
2 Speaker of Lok Sabha
3 Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha
4 Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him/her
5 One eminent jurist

 

FIRST LOKPAL OF INDIA

Former Supreme Court judge and a member of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, Pinaki Chandra Ghose, is India’s first anti-corruption ombudsman, or Lokpal, after his name was cleared and recommended by the high-level selection committee chaired by PRIME MINISTER.

 

CONDITIONS OF OFFICE

 

  • The Salary allowances and other conditions of service of the chairperson and members are equivalent to that of Chief Justice of India and Judge of the SUPREME COURT respectively.
  • They are not eligible for reappointment, cannot hold any constitutional or governmental office.
  • They cannot contest any elections for a period of 5 years.

 

 

JURISDICTION
  • Jurisdiction of Lokpal includes Prime Minister, Ministers, members of PARLIAMENT, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of Central Government.

 

Exception for Prime Minister

  • It does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the PM relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • Complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve
  • Such an inquiry against the PM (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.

 

  • Jurisdiction of the Lokpal included the Prime Minister except on allegations of corruption relating to international relations, security, the public order, atomic energy and space.
  • The Lokpal does not have jurisdiction over Ministers and MPs in the matter of anything said in Parliament or a vote given there.
  • Its jurisdiction also includes any person who is or has been in charge (director/ manager/ secretary) of anybody/ society set up by central act or any other body financed/ controlled by central government and any other person involved in act of abetting, bribe giving or bribe taking.
  • It has the powers to superintendence over, and to give direction to CBI.

 

POWERS
  • It has Superintendence over the Central Bureau of Investigation and can give directions to it. If a case is referred to CBI by Lokpal, the investigating officer in such a case cannot be transferred without the approval of Lokpal.
  • Lokpal will have an Inquiry Wing and Prosecution Wing. The Inquiry Wing has the powers of a Civil Court.
  • It can confiscate assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances.
  • It can transfer or suspend public servants connected with allegations of corruption.
  • It has the power to give directions to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary inquiry.

 

FUNCTIONS
  • A complaint can be made to the Lokpal for an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The Lokpal may order a preliminary inquiry by its Inquiry Wing or refer it any investigation agency like CBI.
  • However, the Lokpal should establish that a prima facie case exists after seeking an explanation from the public servant as well as his competent authority.
  • With respect to Central Government Servants, it may refer cases to the Central Vigilance Commission.
  • Preliminary Enquiry report should be done within 60 days. The preliminary investigation should be normally completed within 90 days.
  • A Lokpal bench of not less than 3 members considers it and after giving an opportunity to the public servant, decides on a further investigation – it may dismiss, initiate a full investigation or start departmental proceedings.
  • The trials will be held in special courts, which must complete them within one year.
  • Extensions can be made but the total period cannot exceed two years.

 

 

ajax-loader