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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 09 December, 2019

  • Min Read

6 years on, Lokpal is yet to get prosecution wing

Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Prelims and Mains focus: About Lokpal and Lokayuktas, appointment of members, key issues with the Lokpal and govt.’s efforts to curb corruption

News: Almost six years after the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, was signed into law, several key provisions needed for the anti­corruption ombudsman to function have still not been operationalised.

Issues with Lokpal

  • The process of constituting the Lokpal’s inquiry and prosecution wings has not yet begun, and regulations for how to conduct preliminary investigations have not been made, the Lokpal has said in response to RTI queries.
  • Currently, the institution is functioning out of a government-owned hotel in Delhi. While it approved a logo and motto for itself last month, the Lokpal has not yet notified a format for filing complaints.
  • The rules for the disclosure of assets and liabilities by public servants have not been notified either. This is a key provision as the amassing of assets disproportionate to the known sources of income is often the basis for a complaint. The draft rules of 2017 were referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, which submitted its recommendations to the government in July 2018.
  • The Lokpal would find it difficult to investigate complaints that do fall within its mandate as it has no inquiry wing or regulations for inquiries.

About Lokpal

  • The term Lokpal was coined in 1963 but it was not until January 2014 that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act came into force.
  • It was more than five years later, in March 2019, that the first chairperson and members of the Lokpal were appointed.
  • Lokpal is a national anti corruption ombudsman to look into complaints against publics servants which are defined under the Lokpal Act 2013. This body is constituted to check the menace of corruption in India.

1. This Act may be called the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

2. It extends to the whole India.

3. It shall apply to public servants in India and abroad

History of Lokpal;

The Lokpal bill has been introduced nine times (1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1998, 2001, 2011 and 2013) in the Lok Sabha.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 received the assent of the President on the January 1st, 2014, and published for information of general Public.

An Act of 2013 clears the way to establish the body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public servants.

Composition of the Lokpal

The office of Lokpal Comprises of a Chairman and upto 8 members. The chairman of the Lokpal can be current or former judge of the Supreme Court or the chief justice of High Courts.

Or

An eminent person i.e. he is a person of neat and clean image and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in the matters relating to;

i. Anti Corruption Policy

ii. Public administration

iii. Vigilance

iv. Law and Management

v. Finance including insurance and banking

Note: As per the provisions of the act; 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall be from the community of Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women.

Select Committee to Appoint Lokpal is comprises of;

i. Prime Minister

ii. Chief justice of India or his nominee

iii. Lok Sabha Speaker

iv. Leader of Opposition

v. An eminent jurist nominated by the President of India

Removal

To remove the Lokpal 100 members of the Parliament need to sign the petition seeking the removal of the chairman of the Lokpal or any other members. This matter will be investigated by the Supreme Court and if SC finds the charges to be true then SC suggests the president to remove the Lokpal from the post.

Another way to remove the Lokpal is self reference of the President (on the advice of the cabinet) to the Supreme Court, which can investigate the charges.

Powers

If the Lokpal receives a complaint under the prevention of corruption act 1988, then it can initiate the investigation. If the complaint found true in the investigation then the Lokpal can ask the government to take disciplinary action against the accused public servants or can file a corruption case in a special court.

Salary and allowances of the chairman and members

The Chairman of the Lokpal shall enjoy the same salary and allowance as of Chief Justice of India while members shall receive the same salary and allowance as those enjoyed by the justices of Supreme Court.

Who can be investigated by the Lokpal?

As per the provision of the Lokpal Act, it can investigate persons of seven categories namely;

1. Prime Minister if he/she demits the office.

2. Current and former Cabinet Ministers.

3. Current and former Members of Parliament.

4. All the class 1 officers of the Central Government like (Secretaries, Joint Secretaries etc.)

5. All the class 1 equivalent officers of the Public Sector Undertakings and other government bodies.

6. Directors and other officers of the Non Government Organisations which receives funding from the Central Government.

7. Directors and other officers of the Non Government Organisations which receives the fund from the public and which have annual income of more than Rs. 10 lac from a foreign contributor and receives Rs. 1 cr from the government.

Source: The Hindu


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