Status of Lokpal
THE HANS INDIA |
Jul 21,2018 , 01:52 AM IST
Lokpal has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament and central government employees in cases of corruption. Lokayuktas are similar to the Lokpal, but function on a state level. They must probe corruption charges, conduct inquiries and investigations and also hear trials. Lokpal investigate public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards. The Lokayuktas must do the same on the state level.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 came into force w.e.f. 16.01.2014. The Government initiated the process for appointment by convening the Selection Committee meeting on 03.02.2014. The Selection Committee under section 4(1) of the Act, also constituted an eight Member Search Committee on 21.02.2014 in terms of section 4(3) of the Act. Two members of the Search Committee declined the offer of appointment.
Looking into such difficulties experienced and to remove certain difficulties in the operationalisation of the Act including issues relating to appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal, etc. in the absence of a Leader of Opposition recognized as such in the Lok Sabha, the Government introduced the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 in Lok Sabha on 18.12.2014.
But in view of the apex court’s ruling, wherein it was observed that the law as it stands today is an eminently workable piece of legislation, two meetings of the Selection Committee under Section 4(1) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 were held on March 1, 2018 and April 10, 2018. Upon the recommendations of the Selection Committee, the President has nominated Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India as “Eminent Jurist” Member of the Selection Committee.
The next meeting of the Selection Committee has been convened on 19th July, 2018 to consider the constitution of Search Committee in terms of provisions of section 4(3) of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
Congress points out that the Lokpal panel had approved an amendment to the law to include the leader of the single largest Opposition party as a member of the selection committee, but the NDA government had never placed this amendment before Parliament. Its leader in LS Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the Lokpal selection meeting on Thursday. Kharge had previously turned down invitations to Lokpal selection meetings on March 1 and April 10.