Current Affairs 2023
Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman in the Republic of India, responsible for inquiring into allegations of corruption against public functionaries at the national level. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed in 2013, with retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose appointed as the first Lokpal in 2019. The organization consists of a chairperson and a maximum of eight other members, with 50% of the members being judicial and 50% non-judicial, including individuals from underrepresented groups.
Apr 05, 2023
3 min read
The Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority in the Republic of India, also known as the ombudsman, responsible for investigating corruption allegations against public functionaries at the national level. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013 was passed by the Indian Parliament, following the Jan Lokpal movement led by Anna Hazare in 2010. The act includes provisions for the selection of a chairperson and eight members, with 50% being judicial and the remaining being people of impeccable integrity and outstanding ability with expertise in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance, law, and management. The Lokpal's jurisdiction covers all categories of public servants, including the prime minister, and NGOs receiving donations from foreign sources. The Lokpal also has power over central investigation agencies and can sanction prosecutions against public servants.
The selection committee consists of the prime minister, the speaker of Lok Sabha, the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, and the chief justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by the CJI. The chairperson and members of the Lokpal are selected by this committee, and an eminent jurist is nominated by the President of India based on the recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee. The Lokpal has a power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
The Lokpal bill also lays down clear timelines for preliminary enquiry, investigation, and trial, and provides for special courts. Public servants will not present their view before preliminary enquiry if the case requires an element of surprise, like raids and searches. The bill incorporates provisions for the attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending. The directorate of prosecution will be under the overall control of the CBI director, and the appointment of the director of prosecution will be based on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
In 2019, retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose was appointed as the first Lokpal of India by the committee consisting of the prime minister, the chief justice of India, and the speaker of the Lok Sabha. Currently, the Lokpal consists of an acting chairperson, two judicial members, and four non-judicial members, including people with expertise in finance, law enforcement, and public administration.
The Lokpal is a significant step towards fighting corruption in India and ensuring accountability on the part of public officials. The implementation of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013 represents a long-awaited victory for those who have been fighting for transparency and accountability in the Indian government. The Lokpal has the potential to change the face of Indian politics, and its impact will be felt for generations to come.
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