Why in News?
The Search Committee, constituted in terms of section 4(3) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, has sought applications/nominations for preparation of panel of names to be placed for the consideration of the Selection Committee for appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal. For this purpose, an advertisement was published in leading newspapers on 6th September, 2023 indicating 28th September, 2023 (5:00 pm) as the last date and time for receipt of applications/nominations.
What is Lokpal?
The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in independent India, established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of the above act.
The Lokpal of India is committed to address concerns and aspirations of the citizens of India for clean governance. It shall make all efforts within its jurisdiction to serve the public interest and shall endeavour to use the powers vested in it to eradicate corruption in public life
India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The commitment of the Government to provide clean and responsive governance is reflected in passing of the legislation and creation of the body of Lokpal, to contain and punish acts of corruption.
The Lokpal has jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union Government under Groups A, B, C and D. Also covered are chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust orautonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Union or State government. It also covers any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above ₹10 lakh (approx.).
The Lokpal, with respect to Central government servants, shall refer the complaints to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CVC will send a report to the Lokpal regarding officials falling under Groups A and B; and proceed as per the CVC Act against those in Groups C and D.
The lokpal is vested with the power of search and seizure and also powers under the Civil Procedure Code for the purpose of conducting preliminary inquiry & investigation and power of attachment of assets and taking other steps for eradication of corruption.
Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any central investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the Lokpal. A detailed organogram giving the details of the organizational structure of the Lokpal is under preparation. The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and eight Members out of whom 50% are Judicial Members. The Chairperson and the Members are appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal and hold office for a term of five years from the date on which they enter upon the office or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. The salary, allowances and other conditions of services of the Chairperson are the same as that of Chief Justice of India. The salary, allowances and other conditions of services of the Members are the same as that of a Judge of the Supreme Court.