Lokpal

Lokpal

News: The Lokpal has failed to provide prosecution sanction to public servants charged with corruption since its constitution nearly three years ago, according to an RTI reply by the anti-graft ombudsman.

Details:
• The appointments of directors of inquiry and prosecution, the two top personnel for looking into complaints of corruption and processing prosecution of accused public servants, are yet to be made.
• According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013:
o There shall be a director of inquiry, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
o He/she shall be appointed by the Central government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by the Lokpal.

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.

Powers:
• 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. 

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