13th Feb 2020 : The Hindu Editorials Notes : Mains Sure Shot for UPSC IAS Exam
India – Sri Lanka relations 30th September
Question – analyse the functioning of the Lokpal. Can the office be further strengthened?
Context – The Lokpal Act.
- The Jan lokpal bill is essentially an anti-corruption bill and from that a lokpal is an anti corruption institution.
- The term “Lokpal” was coined by Dr. L.M. Singhvi in 1963. The concept of a constitutional ombudsman was first proposed in parliament by Law Minister Ashoke Kumar Sen in the early 1960s.
- The first Jan Lokpal Bill was proposed by Adv Shanti Bhusan in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969, but did not pass through the Rajya Sabha.
- Subsequently, ‘Lokpal Bills’ were introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, again by Ashoke Kumar Sen while serving as Law Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet, and again in 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008 but they were never passed.
- Forty-five years after its first introduction, the Lokpal Bill was finally enacted in India on 18th December 2013.
- The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) of India (1966-1970) recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ grievances.
- These institutions were to be set up on the pattern of Ombudsman in Scandinavian countries and the parliamentary commissioner for investigation in New Zealand.
- A Joint Drafting Committee on 8.4.2011, consisting of five nominee ministers from the government and five nominees of Sri Anna Hazare, to prepare a draft of the Lokpal Bill.
- Based on the deliberations of the committee, and on the basis of inputs from Chief Minister of states and political parties, a draft Lokpal Bill was prepared.
- The cabinet at its meetings held on 28.7.2011 considered the draft Lokpal Bill and upon approval by the Cabinet, the Lokpal Bill, 2011, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 4.8.2011.
Features of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013:
- The Lokpal to consist of a Chairperson with a maximum of 8 members of which 50% shall be judicial members.
- 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall come from amongst the SCs, STs, the OBCs and women.
- The selection of the chairperson and the members of the Lokpal shall be through a selection committee consisting of – the PM, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition of Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or sitting SC judge nominated by CJI, an eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India.
- A search committee will assist the Selection Committee in the process of election. Fifty percent of the members of the Search Committee shall also be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
- Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servents including Group A, B, C, and D officers and employees of government. On complaints referred to CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of preliminary enquiry in respect of Group A and B officers back to the Lokpal for further decision. With respect to Group C and D employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review.
- All entries receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
- Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
- High powered committee chaired by PM will recommend selection of the Director of of CBI.
- Attachment and confiscation of property of public servants acquired by corrupt means, even when persecution is pending.
Enquiry Procedure of Lokpal and Lokayuktas:
- The investigation shall be completed within 6 months. The Lokpal may initiate persecution through its Prosecution Wing before the Special Court set up to adjudicate cases.
- The trial shall be completed within a maximum of two years. The recent amendment has amended Section 44.
- Now every public servant shall make the declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by the government.
- It has abolished the previous 30 days timeline.
- Gives extension of the time given to public servants and trustees and board members of Non-Governmental Organisations to declare their assets and those of their spouses.
- Strict laws should be implemented against those who provide and those who accept bribes. It is believed that corruption resides on every level of most of the working institutions.
- Just imagine the impact parents have on their children when they get a false medical report in order to ensure their attendance in colleges and schools. You wish to get your child admitted to a good school or college, just pay an ample amount of money to one of the authorities and your work is done. It has to begin from home, from the root level.