RAJYA SABHA TV – THE BIG PICTURE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTA
- The Supreme Court on 17 January 2019fixed a February-end deadline for the search committee on Lokpal to recommend a panel of names for appointment of the country’s first anti-graft ombudsman.
- It also directed the Centre to providethe search committee requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work.
Lokpal and Lokayukta:
- A Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsmanwho represents the public interest. This concept is borrowed from Sweden.
- An ombudsman is an officialwho is charged with representing the interests of public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of rights. He is usually appointed by the government or by parliament but, with a certain degree of independence.
- TheLokpal has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament and central government employees in cases of corruption.
- The concept of a constitutional amendment in India has been proposed many times starting in the early 1960s.But the bills were never passed till many years.
- The Lokpal bill was finally enacted in India on 18 December 2013 as “The Lokpal and Lokayukts Act, 2013”. It seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of ‘Lokpal’ for the Union and ‘Lokayukta’ for statesto inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries (including Prime Minister, ministers, MPs, Group A, B, C, D officials of the Central Government) and for matters connecting them.
- The Lokayukts are similar to the Lokpal, but function on a state level.States like Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, etc have introduced the institution of Lokayukta. But there are no Lokayuktas in Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, etc.
The Need for Intervention:
- Despite the Act being passed in 2013, and intervention of Supreme Court as well, a Lokpal has not been established till date. It was passed in 2013 after civil society agitations.
- There have been many technical problems in the formation of committeefor Lokpal like absence of a Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
- Institutions and agencies like Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorateare already present in India to check corruption and related issues in Government offices.
- The recent incidences in CBIhave again raised eyebrows if the Lokpal will be effective in a democracy like India.
- The jurisdiction powers of Lokpalare very wide. It is a body of 9 persons consisting of chairperson, judicial members and other persons. There removal will not be easy like the judges of Supreme Court of India.
- Lokpal has powers to give directions to all the agencies in Indialike CBI, CVC, etc. They will work as an investigating agency, a prosecuting agency and shall have special courts.
- Lokayukts are present in many states while many of the states still do not have the Lokayukts. The powers given to them relating to corruption, etc have not been up to the mark.
- Putting up of a deadline by the Supreme Courtfor creation of Lokpal is a positive step otherwise the hurdles may keep delaying its formation in future as well.
- Looking at the low ranking of India in Corruption on global level, there is a need to check the corruption by strong institutions.Creation of the institution of Lokpal and Lokayukts till a given deadline has come up as a welcome step.
- But it shall function independent from any political influenceso that a proper system of checks-and -balance is maintained in the federal and democratic system of India.
The appointment committee of lokpal headed by prime minister consists of
- Chief justice of india
- leader of opposition in loksabha
- speaker, loksabha
- all the above