Lokpal: What is the issue at hand?

Sandarbha Desk
Sandarbha Desk

What is Lokpal?

It is an authority representing the public interest who will investigate corruption in the government at the national level.

The 2013 Act gives it jurisdiction over all members of Parliament and central government employees.

While the Lokpal will look into corruption cases at the national level, Lokayuktas takes care of the same at the state level.

Also Read: Jan Lokpal Bill

Who coined the term?

The term was coined by Dr. LM Singhvi in the year 1963.

Who proposed the concept of a constitutional ombudsman?

The concept was first proposed in the parliament by law minister Ashoke Kumar Sen in the early 60s.

Who proposed the first Jan Lokpal bill?

Shanti Bhushan proposed the first bill in 1968.

What is the 2013 Act?

Under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013, the appointments to Lokpal are made by a high-level selection committee consisting of the:

  1. Prime Minister
  2. Lok Sabha Speaker
  3. LoP
  4. Chief Justice of India
  5. An eminent jurist chosen by them.

Also Read: Return of 14 Bills by MHA- Constitutional or not?

 So what is the issue?

The Congress could not get the required 10% membership in the Lok Sabha in the 2014       parliamentary elections so the 16th Lok Sabha does not have a recognized LoP. This had halted the implementation of the Act.

What is the government’s stand?

The government argues that appointment of the Chairperson and Members is not currently possible, and would have to wait till the 2013 Act is amended to replace the LoP with the single largest opposition party leader.

The judgment of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on 27th April 2017, found the Act of 2013 an “eminently workable piece of legislation”, providing for the appointment of Lokpal Chairperson and Members even in the absence of a recognized Leader of Opposition (LoP).

The court pointed to sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the original 2013 Lokpal Act, which makes it clear that an appointment of the Chairperson or Members of Lokpal will not be invalidated merely because one of the members of the Selection Committee is missing.

Thus, the available members of the Selection Committee could recommend suitable persons to the President for appointment to the Lokpal.

Sources: the Hindu, NewIndianExpress

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