Lokpal and Lokayukta
The ‘Lokpal’ is the central governing body that has jurisdiction over all members of parliament and central government employees in case of corruption. Whereas, the ‘Lokayukta’ is similar to the Lokpal, but functions on a state level. Scope of the ‘Lokpal’ is based on a national government level basis and the scope of the ‘Lokayukta’ relied on a state level.
The main function is to address complaints of corruption, to make inquiries, investigations, and to conduct trials for the case on respective state and central government with having responsibility to help in curbing the corruption in the central and state government.
Salient features of the Act
1. The Lokpal to consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members, of which fifty percent shall be judicial Members. Fifty per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
2. The selection of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of –
a) Prime Minister;
b) Speaker of Lok Sabha;
c) Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha;
d) Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI;
e) An eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India
3. A Search Committee will assist the Selection Committee in the process of selection. Fifty per cent of members of the Search Committee shall also be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
4. Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants including Group ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘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 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 by Lokpal.
5. All entities 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.
6. Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
7. A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.
8. Attachment and confiscation of property of public servants acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
The Lokpal’s inquiry wing is required to inquire into complaints within 60 days of their reference. On considering an inquiry report the Lokpal shall-
(i) order an investigation; (ii) initiate departmental proceedings; or (iii) close the case and proceed against the complainant for making a false and frivolous complaint. The investigation shall be completed within 6 months. The Lokpal may initiate prosecution 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 the every public servantshall make declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by government. It has abolished the previous 30 days timeline.
b) Gives extension of the time given to public servants and trustees and board members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to declare their assets and those of their spouses.