Pinaki Chandra Ghose set to be India’s first Lokpal
18, Mar 2019
Former Supreme Court judge and current member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Pinaki Chandra Ghose, is likely to be 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.
Swedish institution of Ombudsman is first in the world to resolve citizen’s grievances.
Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
Term is 5 yrs or till age of 70. After ceasing to hold office member and chairperson shall not be eligible to hold any post under any government in India.
Selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal through a selection committee consisting of PM, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI. Eminent jurist to be nominated by President of India on basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee “through consensus”.
Chairperson shall be either a sitting or retired Chief justice of India or sitting or retired SC Judge or person of eminence in public affairs.
Members: 50% will be judicial members i.e. sitting or retired judge of SC / sitting or retired chief justice of HC and 50% members ofLokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
Non judicial members should have knowledge and experience of 25 yrs in field of vigilance, finance, anti-corruption policyand public administration.
Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants.
All entities (NGOs) receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh per year are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
Centre will send Lokpal bill to states as a model bill. States have to set up Lokayuktas through a state law within 365 days.
Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
A high-powered committee chaired by the PM will recommend selection of CBI director. The collegiums will comprise PM, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India.
PM has been brought under purview of the Lokpal, so also central ministers and senior officials.
Directorate of prosecution will be under overall control of CBI director. At present, it comes under the law ministry.
Appointment of director of prosecution to be based on recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
Director of prosecution will also have a fixed tenure of two years like CBI chief.
Transfer of CBI officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal with the approval of watchdog.
Bill incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
Bill lays down clear timelines for preliminary enquiry and investigation and trial. Provides for special courts Public servants will not present their view before preliminary enquiry if the case requires ‘element of surprise’ like raids and searches.
Bill grants powers to Lokpal to sanction prosecution against public servants.
CBI may appoint a panel of advocates with approval of Lokpal, CBI will not have to depend on govt advocates.