Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Director of Inquiry for Lokpal:
More than two years after the Lokpal came into being, the Centre is yet to appoint a director of inquiry.
Who is a director of inquiry?
According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013:
- There shall be a director of inquiry, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
- He/she shall be appointed by the Central government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by the Lokpal.
What’s the issue?
- Though Director of Inquiry has not been appointed by Govt. of India, cases are being received in the commission for conducting preliminary inquiries.
- Forty-one cases have been received for preliminary inquiry as of March 2021.
Highlights of the Lokpal Act of 2013:
- The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
- The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
- The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister. But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
- The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
- The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
- The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.
- The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
- As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.
- An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing.
- Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.
Read Briefly about the origin of the concept of Ombudsman Click here
- About Lokpal.
- Overview of the Lokpal Act of 2013.
Comment on the changes made to Lokpal Act and its delay in operationalisation.
Sources: the Hindu.