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Director of Inquiry for Lokpal

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Director of Inquiry for Lokpal:


Context:

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:

  1. The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
  2. The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
  3. 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.
  4. The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
  5. The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  6. The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.

 

Powers:

  1. The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.

 

Insta Curious: 

Read Briefly about the origin of the concept of Ombudsman Click here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Lokpal.
  2. Powers.
  3. Functions.
  4. Selection.
  5. Overview of the Lokpal Act of 2013.

Mains Link:

Comment on the changes made to Lokpal Act and its delay in operationalisation.

Sources: the Hindu.