Appointment of Lokpal - Background Context
- Very recently the union Govt. of India enlightened the Apex court of India about the committee of 8 (eight) members has been constituted (Sept 2018) narrowing on candidates who seem eligible for the Lokpal.
- On the other hand, the anti-corruption officials and authorities will frame their protocols of functioning.
- The Panel is headed by the former Chief Justice of India (Supreme Court judge) Ranjana Prakash Desai.
- The judgment of the Supreme Court (April 2017) to appoint the Lokpal was not yet materialized by the Union Government despite regular follow-ups and urges by the apex court, as a result, contempt was filed in the court against the Union Government.
Brief of Lokpal Act 2013
- The Lokpal Act 2013 enables the establishment of an anti-corruption ombudsman popularly known as Lokpal in the Central Govt. and Lokayukta in the respective State-Level.
- Assembly of Lokpal is simple and will consist of the chairperson in addition to the no more than 8 (eight) members body.
- Lokpal covers the complete hierarchy of the public administration (both central and state), inclusive of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), except armed forces.
- The “Lokpal Act 2013” has the provision or enables to investigate and confiscation (seizure or expropriation) of possession of property gained or acquired by illicit corrupt means.
- Under the Lokpal Act 2013, the seizure can also be done even if the alleged party or individual has his/her case pending in court (i.e. confiscation without the need for judgment)
- All the state governments will have to carry out the establishment of the "Lokayukta within 12 months of the commencement of the Lokpal Act.
- The Lokpal Act ensures the protection of all whistleblowers (especially public servants) at every stage of the investigation and prosecution of the alleged party.
Potential and Competence of the Lokpal Act
- The respective Lokpal will have rulership or generalship and instructions to dwarf any investigation agency including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), particularly cases referred to them by the ombudsman. This superintendence was least welcome by the Union Government and top agencies of the Indian Government.
- Lokpal Act enables the authorities to question any public/civil servant in relation to the alleged cases against the person, this summon can come even before the investigation agencies like CBI.
- To avoid malpractice and favoring the accused person, any given officer or authority of CBI involved in the investigation of the case (Lokpal), in any case, will not be transferred without prior approval from the Lokpal.
- The long and lengthy investigation has to be curbed and the investigation has to be completed within 6 (six) months, unless the genuine reason is produced in writing, before the bench of the Lokpal or Lokayukta, which in return may or may not approve the extension (extension only if necessary within the scope of the cases).
- The cases referred to by the ombudsman are to be put on trial in Special Courts (Lokpal), which have to be established separately from the general court.