What is Lokpal?

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Overview:

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was recently appointed as the chairperson of Lokpal.

About Lokpal

  • It is a statutory body established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013.
  • Mandate: To inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.
  • Organisational Structure:
    • The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members. 
    • The Chairperson should be either the former Chief Justice of India, or a former Judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfils the eligibility criteria as specified. 
    • Out of the maximum eight members, half will be judicial members. The judicial member of the Lokpal should be either a former Judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court. 
    • A minimum of fifty per cent of the Members will be from SC / ST / OBC / Minorities and women. 
  • How are members appointed?
    • The Chairperson and the Members are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a selection committee composed of the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him/her, and one eminent jurist.
    • They 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 the 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.
  • Jurisdiction:
    • It has jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, 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. 
    • It covers chairpersons, members, officers, and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust, or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Union or State government.
    • It also covers any society, trust, or body that receives a foreign contribution above Rs 10 lakh.
  • Exceptions for Prime Minister:
    • Lokpal cannot inquire into allegations against the PM relating to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy, and space. 
    • Also, complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of the inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it. 
  • Powers of Lokpal:
    • It has powers to superintendence over and to give direction to the CBI.
    • If it has referred a case to the CBI, the investigating officer in such a case cannot be transferred without the approval of Lokpal.
    • Powers to authorize CBI for search and seizure operations connected to such cases.
    • The Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal has been vested with the powers of a civil court.
    • Lokpal has powers of confiscation of assets, proceeds, receipts, and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances.
    • Lokpal has the power to recommend the transfer or suspension of public servants connected with the allegation of corruption.
    • Lokpal has the power to give directions to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary inquiry.
  • In terms of Section 48 of the said Act, the Lokpal is required to present annually to the President a report on the work done by it, which is caused to be laid in both the Houses of the Parliament. 

Q1) What is the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)?

It is the premier investigative agency in India, with a dual responsibility to investigate grievous cases and provide leadership and direction in fighting corruption to the police force across the country. The establishment of the CBI was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962–1964). It is not a statutory body, as it was set up by a resolution (1963) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. It is also the nodal police agency in India that coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol member countries.

Source: Ex-SC judge Justice A M Khanwilkar appointed Lokpal chairperson