The Lokpal and Lokayuktas

ƒ The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, introduced on
December 22, 2011, was passed by the Lok Sabha on
December 27, 2011. The Bill was taken up for
consideration and passing in the Rajya Sabha, which
referred it to a Select Committee (Chairperson: Shri
Satyavrat Chaturvedi). The Committee is scheduled to
submit its report by the last week of the Monsoon session.
ƒ The Bill provides for establishment of the Lokpal at the
centre and Lokayuktas in the states for inquiring into
complaints of corruption against certain public servants.
The Bill, once passed, shall be applicable to states if they
give their consent to its application.
ƒ The members of the Lokpal (Lokayuktas) shall be
appointed by the President (Governor) on the basis of the
recommendations of the Selection Committee.
ƒ The Selection Committee for the Lokpal shall comprise of
the Prime Minister (Chief Minister), Speaker of the Lower
House, Leaders of the Opposition of the Lower House, the
Chief Justice of India (Chief Justice of the High Court) or
a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him, and an
eminent jurist nominated by the President (Governor).
The Bill makes it mandatory for the Selection Committee
to constitute a search committee of at least seven
members. At least 50% of the members shall be from
among SC, ST, OBC, women or minority communities.
The Selection Committee may consider a candidate other
than one recommended by the Search Committee.
ƒ The Lokpal and Lokayuktas shall consist of one
chairperson and up to eight members. The Chairperson
shall be the CJI or a present or former judge of the
Supreme Court or a non-judicial member with specified
qualifications (Chief Justice or a Judge of a High Court).
Fifty percent of the other members shall be judicial
members (judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices
of the High Court in case of Lokpal and judge of a High
Court in case of Lokayuktas). A non-judicial member is
required to have 25 years experience in anti-corruption
policy, public administration, vigilance and finance.
ƒ At least 50 per cent of the members of both bodies shall be
from among SC, ST, OBC, minorities and women.
ƒ Members of the Lokpal may be removed by the President
after an inquiry by the Supreme Court. The Supreme
Court may inquire based on a reference from the
President. Such reference may be made by the President
on his own, or on a citizen’s petition if the President is
satisfied by it, or on a petition signed by 100 MPs.
ƒ A Lokpal can enquire into offences under the Prevention
of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA) committed by:
(a) the PM with specified safeguards,
(b) current and former Union Ministers,
(c) current and former MPs,
(d) group A, B, C, D officers,
(e) employees of a company, society or a trust set up by
an Act of Parliament, or financed or controlled by the
central government.
(f) employees of association of persons that (i) have
received funding from the government and have an
annual income above a specified amount; or (ii) have
received public donation and have an annual income
above a specified amount or received foreign funding
above Rs 10 lakh a year.
ƒ An inquiry against the PM has to be held in-camera and
approved by a 2/3rd majority of the full bench of the
Lokpal. The PM cannot be investigated if the complaint is
related to international relations, external and internal
security, public order, atomic energy and space.
ƒ The Lokayuktas shall have jurisdiction over the CM,
Ministers, MLAs, all state government employees and
certain private entities (including religious institutions).
ƒ 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
Bill specifies a similar procedure for Lokayuktas.
ƒ The Bill removes the requirement of sanction for initiating
investigation and prosecution.
ƒ The Bill penalises false and frivolous complaints with
imprisonment for a maximum of one year and a fine of up
to one lakh rupees. The Bill amends the PCA to enhance
penalties for a public servant for corruption from
maximum of five years to seven years. For criminal
misconduct and habitually abetting corruption, the jail
term is increased from seven years to ten years.

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