What are Lokpal and Lokayukta?
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 is generally called the Lokpal act which is an anti-corruption act passed by the Parliament of India.
- The bill was introduced to Lok Sabha on 22nd December 2011 and it was passed on 27 December 2011.
- Later the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill 2011 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 29th December 2011 which was further passed by The Upper house on 17th December 2013.
- The Lokpal and Lokayukta bill received assent from the President of India on 1st January 2014 which further came into force on 16th January.
- Lokpal and Lokayukta are the bodies that fulfill the responsibility of an ombudsman which means an authority that investigates the complaints related to a person, organization, or any government agency for the claims of corruption.
What is Lokpal?
The Lokpal is the very first organization and one of its own kind in India.
- Lokpal was established under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 whose main task was to enquire and investigate the cases related to corruption with respect to the officials and organizations at the Central level.
- Lokpal of India is purely committed to making clean governance in India and hence it makes all genuine efforts to serve the public domain.
- As India is the secretary member of the United Nations Convention against corruption therefore the construction of such a body to punish the act of corruption is an important move.
What is Lokayukta?
Lokayukta is the same as the Lokpal as it is also an anti-corruption authority for the states of India.
- The Lokayukta keeps an eye on the officials and public organizations and investigates the allegations of corruption and maladministration.
- Lokayukta is created as the statutory authorities with fixed terms of office to enable them to carry out their duties impartially and independently.
- Generally, the person appointed for Lokayukta is the one who has served as the Chief Justice of the High Court or the Supreme Court.
History of Lokpal and Lokayukta
Let's take a look at the history of Lokpal and Lokayukta below.
- Sweden established the Institution of ombudsman in 1809.
- As an institution, the ombudsman developed even more significantly after the second world war.
- Resulting to which after a few decades New Zealand and Norway also adopted the system of ombudsman in 1962 and this concept prove to be extremely influential.
- To implement the concept of ombudsman in 1966, Guyana became the first country to do so. Subsequently, it was followed and adopted by India, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Singapore as well.
- During the early 1960s, Ashok Kumar Sen who was the then Law Minister proposed the concept of a constitutional version in the Parliament of India
- The concept and term Lokpal and Lokayukta were coined by Dr. LM Singhvi in India.
- As part of the first Administrative Reforms Commission recommendation in 1966, there should be two independent authorities at the Central and state levels. One of which would investigate the Complaints against the corruption cases of government officials.
- During the dissolution of Lok Sabha in 1968, the Lokpal bill lapsed and since then it has fallen through many Lok Sabha sessions.
- The bill was passed 8 times before 2011 but failed each time.
- Based on the findings of the commission to review the working of the constitution established by MN Venkatachaliah in 2002, it was recommended that the Lokpal and Lokayukta be appointed and the PM should remain outside the authority's scope.
- Veerappa Mauli chaired the second Administrative Reforms Commission that recommended the establishment of the Lokpal office immediately.
- An examination of the Lokpal bill proposal was conducted by a group of ministers which was shared by Pranab Mukherjee in 2011.
- It was Anna Hazare's India against corruption movement that led to the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill in 2013, being passed by both houses of Parliament under the UPA government.
- The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill received its assent from the President of India on 1st January 2014 and later came into action on 16th January 2014.
Structure of Lokpal and Lokayukta
The Lokpal panel is mandatory to have a chairperson and a total of 8 members according to the act out of those, 4 should be the judicial members.
- The chairperson of Lok Pal should have served as chief justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court or any distinguished personality having the knowledge and expertise in the field of anti-corruption policy Vigilance Public Administration and law and Management.
- The Lokpal judicial member should have served as a judge for the supreme court or the chief justice of the High Court.
- Other Lokpal members can be any eminent personality with experience of 25 years of knowledge in public administration Vigilance and anti-corruption policy.
- Half of the membership of Lokpal must contain scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, and OBC along with minority classes and women.
All the members of Lokpal are appointed by a selection committee that is composed of the Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, and CJI.
The chief minister of the state selects the Lokayukta after taking a meeting with the chief justice of the High Court, Speaker of the legislative assembly, and chairman of the Legislative Council.
Features of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013
Following are the salient features of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013-
- Lokpal at the Central level and Lokayukta at the state level are intended to be set up under the legislation to provide the Nation with an anti-corruption road map at both levels.
- Members of parliament and officers of the central government of groups A, B, C, and D are subject to Lokpal jurisdiction.
- Lokpal comprises a chairperson and up to 8 members out of which 50% shall be judicial.
- A Lokpal will consist of approximately 50% members from SC, ST, OBC minorities, and the women's community.
- The chairperson and members of Lokpal are selected by a selection committee composed of the Prime Minister speaker of Lok Sabha leader of the opposition CJI and the President.
- To assist the selection committee in selecting the candidates, a search committee is formed where the members of the search committee shall also represent SC, ST, OBC, minorities, and women.
- With subject matter exclusions and specific procedures for handling complaints against him or her, the prime minister has been brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
- Public servants of all the categories including the Government employees of all the levels including groups A, B, and C will be under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
- On referral by the Lokpal, any investigative agency including the CBI can be controlled and directed by it.
- The appointment of the CBI director is recommended by a high-powered committee that will be led by the Prime Minister.
- In case of a preliminary inquiry, it may last for 3 months and can be extended by 3 months.
- 6 months are allowed for investigation and these can be extended by 6 months.
- There is a change in the maximum punishment for corruption under the prevention of corruption act which is increased from 7 to 10 years.
- The institutions that are partially or completely funded by the government come under the jurisdiction of Lokpal however the Institutions which are added by the government are excluded from it.
- All the entities which receive the donation from foreign sources under the foreign contribution Regulation Act with the access of rupees 10 lakh per year come under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
Drawbacks of Lokpal and Lokayukta
In the battle against corruption in the Indian Administrative structure, the Lokpal has attempted to make a positive change but still, there are loopholes and inconsistencies that need to be addressed.
- There has been no appointment of a Lokpal since the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 was passed by parliament which demonstrates a lack of political commitment.
- In addition to appointing members from political parties, the Lokpal committee itself is subject to political influence.
- As a Lokpal appointment is not based on any criteria for deciding who is an eminent jurist or a person of integrity therefore it can be manipulated in a methodical way.
- Lokpal is not a constitutional body, hence, there is no provision to appeal in the Lokpal.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Act UPSC
Lokpal and Lokayukta act UPSC topic is an important one from the Indian Polity Syllabus of UPSC exams. This topic becomes equally important due to its existence and limitations and therefore the chances of appearing questions on this topic rise higher. IAS Exam aspirants can download the UPSC Syllabus for Prelims Exams and the Indian Polity Notes for the UPSC exam. Also, you can get the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers and NCERT Books for IAS preparations.
Lokpal and Lokayukta UPSC Prelims 2016 Question
Question - The Appointment of Lokayukta at the state level was first recommended by?
Choose the correct answer:
- Rajasthan State Administrative Reforms Committee
- Administrative Reforms Commission of India (1966-70)
- Second Administrative Reforms Commission
- Santhanam Committee
Answer - B
Lokpal and Lokayukta UPSC Prelims Sample Question
Question - Consider the following statements and choose the correct option given below-
- A two-tier administrative system with a Lokpal at the center and Lokayukta at the state level was recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission that was set up in 1966
- Administrative Reforms Commission was established in 1966 under the leadership of PD Deshmukh
Which of the option/s given below is/are right?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both are correct
- None of the above
Answer - A