Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Simply Put: Lokpal

After the appointment of PC Ghose, a retired supreme court judge, as the chairman of the Lokpal, how will the ombudsman function now?

GN Bureau | April 4, 2019


#PC Ghose   #Arvind Kejriwal   #Lokpal   #ombudsman  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

 After the appointment of PC Ghose, a retired supreme court judge, as the chairman of the Lokpal, how will the ombudsman function now?

 
Selection of other members
The selection committee will now choose Lokpal’s eight other members. At least 50 percent of the other members shall be judicial members (judges of the SC and chief justices of the high court). A non-judicial member is required to have 25 years of experience in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance or law.
 
 
What is the role of Lokpal?
Lokpal is an independent body to look into cases of corruption. It empowers citizens to complain to the lokpal against corruption by public officials. It can inquire into complaints filed within seven years of the commission of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 
 
Who are the officials under its jurisdiction?
  • The prime minister, once he has demitted office
  • Union ministers
  • Members of parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha)
  • Group ‘A’ officers and persons of equivalent ranks in public sector undertakings and other government bodies
  • Officers of organisations having an annual income above a specified amount receiving funds from the government or donations from the public. For example, Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, etc.
 
Types of offences under Lokpal
Complaints can be made regarding acts of corruption that are covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. These include acts that amount to corrupt practices and misuse of power by public officials.
 
Investigating and prosecuting a public official for corruption
Lokpal has two wings – investigation and prosecution. If the Lokpal is of the view that the public official committed a corrupt act, it can either order a more detailed investigation or initiate departmental proceedings against him or file a charge-sheet or closure report before the court. The preliminary investigation must be completed within a month, though the time limit may be extended by three months. If the Lokpal finds that an offence was committed, its prosecution wing may file a case in the special court and send the report to the competent authority.

(The article appears in April 15, 2019 edition)

 

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