Lokayukt-Lokpal Institution of Ombudsman


The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act (2013) allowed the creation of Lokayukta in the States and Lokpal in the Union. These organizations are statutory and have no constitutional authority. They act as an ” ombudsman” to investigate corruption complaints against particular public officials and other related issues.


Maladministration can cause a nation to lose its foundation over time, much like termites. It also prevents the government from performing its duties. This is due to corruption. Many anti-corruption organizations are unable to function independently. Even the Supreme Court has called the CBI ” its master voice” and a ” caged bird.” Many of these organizations’ advice is seldom considered because they are advisory groups without any real authority. There is also the issue of internal accountability. There is also no efficient and clear way to hold these institutions responsible.


In 1809, Sweden officially established the Ombudsman institution. The Second World War marked a pivotal moment in the growth and expansion of the Ombudsman Institution in the 20th Century. New Zealand and Norway adopted this method in 1962. It was a significant step in the popularization of the Ombudsman idea. Based on the 1961 Whyatt Report recommendations, Great Britain established the office of the Ombudsman and was the first major country in the democratic world. Guyana was the first country in the developing world to adopt the idea of an ombudsman in 1966. India and Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Malaysia then adopted it. In the 1960s, Ashok Kumar Sen, then India’s minister of laws, proposed the idea of a constitutional ombudsman. Dr L. M. Singhvi first used the terms Lokpal, Lokayukta and other terms.

In 1966, the First Administrative Reforms Commission suggested the establishment of two independent authorities at the federal and state level to investigate complaints against public officials. In 1968, the Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal Bill. However, it was repealed by the Lok Sabha. Since then, it has been repeatedly rejected by the Lok Sabha. The Bill was passed eight times, but it was unsuccessful in 2011. In 2002, the Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommended that the Lokpal and Lokayukta positions be appointed. This was in addition to recommending that the PM not be included within the jurisdiction of the authority. In 2005, the Veerappa Moily-led Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended establishing the Lokpal office immediately. The government established a group of ministers, led by Pranab Mokherjee, in 2011 to examine the Lokpal Bill proposal. They also made recommendations on how to fight corruption. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the central government, was criticized by the “India Against Corruption” movement led by Anna Hazare. This led to both the Lokpal- and Lokayuktas Bills 2013, which both Houses approved.


Modifications to the 2013 Lokpal and Lokayukta Act were made. It also revised Section 44 of the 2013 Act. This section deals with the requirement that public employees must declare their assets and liabilities within thirty days of starting employment with the government. It removes the 30-day deadline and requires that public employees declare their assets in the form and manner prescribed by the government.


Lokpal is multi-member, with an maximum of 8 members and one chairperson. The Lokpal’s chair should be the former Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge. They must also have at least 25 year experience in law, management, banking and anti-corruption policies. Half of the maximum eight members must also be judges. The Lokpal may have a former Chief Justice of a High Court, or a former Judge on the Supreme Court. The term of office for the chairman and members is five years, or until they reach 70.

The president appoints members on the advice of the Selection Committee. The selection committee is made up of the Chief Justice of India, a judge they nominate, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, and one distinguished jurist. To select the chairperson and other members, the selection committee establishes a search panel consisting of at least eight individuals.


The Lokpal Act of 2013, gives the Department of Personnel & Training the mandate to compile a list of people interested in being the Lokpal’s chairperson/members. The eight-member search committee, which is planned to be formed by this committee, would select names from the list and present them to the prime minister’s selection committee. The selection panel may choose the names suggested by the search committee. In September 2018, the government established a search committee. It was headed by Justice Ranjanaprakash Desai (an ex-justice of the Supreme Court). The 2013 Act requires that all states establish the Lokayukta office within one year from the Act’s inception.


The Lokpal has jurisdiction over the Prime Minister, Ministers and Members of Parliament as well as Groups A,B,C, and D officers as well as officials of Central Government. The Lokpal was able to investigate any claims of corruption that could affect public order, atomic energy or international affairs, security, space, or other matters. The Lokpal does not have jurisdiction over MPs or ministers. The Lokpal’s jurisdiction extends to any person who has or is currently responsible for overseeing (manager, secretary, director, manager) any central act-created organization, any other central government-funded body, or any other entity involved in bribery giving and taking. According to the Lokpal Act, all public officials must declare their assets and liabilities as well as any dependents. It is empowered to oversee the CBI and provide guidance to its operations. Lokpal must consent to transfer the investigating officer in a Lokpal-referred case to CBI.

Civil court-like authority has been granted to the Lokpal’s inquiry section. In certain cases, the Lokpal can seize property, money, receipts and perks derived from corruption. A corruption-related public employee can be suspended or transferred by the Lokpal. Although the Lokpal institution has attempted to make a significant shift in India’s fight against corruption, inadequacies and gaps must be filled. Although the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 has been in force for five years, no Lokpal has been elected, which shows a lack of political will. A Lokayukta was also required by the Lokpal Act to be named by each state within one year of its entry into effect. 16 states created the Lokayukta. Lokpal, which is made up of members from political parties, is susceptible to political influence. Lokpal’s appointment can be manipulated because there is no standard to determine who qualifies for the “eminent jurist” and “person of integrity” designations. The 2013 statute did not grant whistleblowers any immunity. If the statute provides for an option to open an investigation against the complainant, people will cease complaining. Lokpal does not have jurisdiction over the court. This is the major flaw. The Lokpal needs to have constitutional support and the provisions for appeal against it need to be revised. The Lokayukta appointments are subject to the full control of the States.


To address corruption, the institution of the Ombudsman must be strengthened in terms of its functional autonomy as well as manpower availability. A strong leader who is willing to be scrutinized by the public, transparency, greater rights to information and empowerment of citizens and citizen groups, are all essential. More is needed to appoint a Lokpal. The government should address the problems that motivate people to call for Lokpals. While the government’s size will increase by increasing the number of investigative agencies, governance will only sometimesonly sometimes improve. The government’s slogan is “Less government, Greater Governance”, and should be followed in spirit and letter. Lokpal and Lokayukta should be legally, financially and administratively distinct from those they are supposed to investigate and penalize. To reduce the chance of wrong people being chosen, appointments for Lokpal or Lokayukta should be transparent. It is important to have multiple decentralized institutions with appropriate accountability systems in order to prevent too much power being concentrated in one authority or institution.

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