Highlight the key provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. Are there any shortcomings that may hamper the effectiveness of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013?

 

Approach:

  • Introduce with the office of Lokpal and Lokayuktas in India.
  • Highlight the key provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
  • Discuss the shortcomings of this Act.
  • Conclude Appropriately.
Model Answer :

On the model of the Ombudsman followed in the Scandinavian countries, the 1st Administrative Reforms Commission of India recommended the setting of two authorities namely Lokpal and Lokayuktas for redressal of public grievances. Acting on the recommendations of the ARC and subsequent citizen movements the Government of India enacted the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

Salient Features:

  1. To provide a uniform vigilance and anti-corruption framework in the nation, the institution of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the States are established.
  1. The institution of Lokpal shall consist of eight members along with a chairperson. Half of the members shall come from amongst the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities and women.
  2. The members and chairperson of Lokpal shall be selected by a Selection Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist.
  3. The office of Prime Minister of India, all categories of public servants, institutions which are financed fully or partly by Government and 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 will come under the purview of the Lokpal.
  4. There are provisions of timeline for inquiries and attachment and confiscation of property of public servants acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.

Shortcomings:

  1. The institution of Lokpal is yet to be established as the Act does not resolve for the deficiency in the composition of the selection committee. The Lokpal is also not given a constitutional backing.
  1. There are provisions of heavy punishment for false and frivolous complaints against public servants, it may deter complaints being filed to Lokpal.
  2. There are no provisions for anonymous complaints or suo motu proceedings against a public servant.
  3. The powers, composition and scope of Lokayuktas for States do not find any mention of the act.
  4. The biggest lacuna is the exclusion of judiciary from the ambit of the Lokpal.

There is a long way to go to ensure transparency and crusade against corruption are still on. Removing the shortcomings in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 will go a long way in this respect.

Subjects : Governance

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