Lokpal and Lokayukta in Indian Constitution
The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) set up in 1966 recommended the constitution of a two-tier machinery of a Lokpal at the Centre, and Lokayukts in the states.
Its main motive is to provide speedy, cheaper form of justice to people.
Lokpal is to be a three member body with a chairperson who is or has been a chief justice or judge of the Supreme Court; and its two other members who are or have been judges or chief justices of high courts around the country.
Service Conditions and Appointment of Lokpal:
As mentioned in the draft bill appended to the interim reports of the commission, the lok pal is to be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha. The person who is to be appointed as a Lokpal must have served his connection, if any with any political party, his membership in parliament or the legislatyre of the state or any office of profit. He can hold office for five years with eligibility for re-appointment. He shall not be removed except by the procedure of the impeachment, as in the case of Supreme Court judges. His status and salary shall be the same as that of the CJI.
Jurisdiction of Lokpal:
The Lokpal is empowered to investigate into administrative action taken by or with approval of a minister or secretary of union or state government either on receiving a written complaint by an aggrieved person or suo motu, relating to mal-administration, undue favour or corruption. But the Lokpal is not to undertake any investigation in respect of which the aggrieved person has any remedy before a court of law or statutory tribunal.
Functions of the Lokayukta:-
(1) Investigating into the citizen “grievances” of injustice and hardship caused by maladministration.
(2) Inquiry into allegation of abuse of office, corruption or lack of integrity against public servant. Such additional function in relation to the redress of grievances and eradication of corruption as may be specified by the Governor, by notification.
Such additional functions may include:-
(a) Supervision over an investigation of anti corruption agencies, authorities, and offers.
(b) Investigation in any action not mentioned in the act “notwithstanding” anything contained therein, if required by the governor by an order.
The Lokayukta and Uplokayukta shall present annually a consolidated report on the performance of their functions under the act to the governor. In Prof. S.N. Hegde vs the Lokayukta, Bangalore and others, an important question arose about the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta, under the Bangalore Lokayukta Act. In this case, the high court has held that if the Lokayukta has to entertain and investigate a complaint against a public servant other than C.M. a minister or a secretary or a member of the state legislature he has no such power unless it is conferred on him by a notification by the state government. The Lokayukta has no jurisdiction to investigate a complaint against the vice-chancellor under the provisio0ns of the act. Such a jurisdiction is clearly barred in view of section 14 of the Universities Act, so that Lokayukta has no jurisdiction under the notification to investigate the complaints against them.
Key Features of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 are as Follows:
The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight members of which 50% shall be judicial members. The Lokpal Chairperson or member shall not be connected with any political party and one member will be an eminent jurist nominated by the President. The selection of Chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection committee consisting of:
Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI, Eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the four members of the Selection Committee.
- All ministers including Prime Minister with some safeguards and senior public servants are covered by the ombudsman, excluding the public servants under Army, Navy and Coastal guard.
- All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of 10 lakh rupees 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.
- Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director of Prosecution under the overall control of Director.
- The appointment of the Director of Prosecution, CBI will be made on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
- Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal with the approval of Lokpal.
- The Bill lays down clear time lines for Preliminary enquiry & investigation and trial and towards this end, the Bill provides for setting up of Special Courts.