Status of Lokayukta Act in India

This article has been written by Deepseng Shyam. Deepseng is currently a student in NLU Assam.

The term Lokayukta is synonymous of “Ombudsman” which is a Swedish term. Lockayukta Act is an anti-corruption act by the Indian Parliament. Its objective is to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta to inquire into the activities of corruption against certain public functionaries[1].

By the Act of 2013 it was left upon the discretion of the state that if it want to make its own Lokayukta act for the appointment of Lokayukta. Maharastra was the first state that brought Lokayukta Act in real existence. There was a time when a corrupt person was not considered a desirable person in a society. But today we are at a stage that corruption is not only taken for granted but also people with money are well respected in a society. Corruption is the root cause of poor governance in India.  In the recent times exposure and disclosure of financial scams have highlighted the extent of corruption that is prevalent all across India and corruption can only be fought or cured with a co-ordinate effort. Therefore, there is a huge cry going on throughout the country in order to eliminate corruption from the entire political system[2].

It is necessary to establish a Lokpal both at the central level and a Lokayukta at the state level. Both of them will address the inadequacies of the current anti-corruption systems and will have the power to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. Indian political system is considered to be one of the most corrupt systems throughout the world. In 2015, India was ranked 76th out of the 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which if compared to other developed states for example United States stands at 17th whereas United Kingdom stands at 12th, Germany at 10th etc India stands pretty low[3]. For a country like India who strives to achieve a “developed state” status it is extremely necessary to get rid of corruption from the system as soon as possible.

Lokayukta is designed to work on behalf of the citizens and it will prevent their interest from the abuse by public office both at the central and the state level. Lokayukta will be an independent body where neither the politicians nor the bureaucrats will have any say or interference in their functioning. The citizens will have the right to file complaints in the High Court as well as in the Supreme Court in case they are not satisfied with the working of any government official and also the citizens will have the right to participate in the law making process. In other words, there will be a system of referendum in our country. The establishment of a Lokpal and Lokayukta will work as an effective grievance redressal system for the public which is essential in a corruption ridden country like India.

The Need for Lokayukta

The need for Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in states is justified in this democratic framework. After all, public also wants that their problems should be looked after and it cannot be possible without these two separate agencies to function. It will also instill confidence among the in the administrative bodies and also, it will drive out the corrupt officials from their chambers which they might have obtained through numerous illegitimate ways.

It is necessary to drive out those political dignitaries who are working for the general good just for name sake. This system will prove to be an effective weapon to drive out the corrupt bureaucrats and political personnel. This system is designed to keep a track and check on the political personnel to prevent from any sort of corruption to take place and in case they are found to be corrupt they will be driven out.

Currently, there are many anti-corruption agencies which deal with corruption cases but they are ineffective in their functioning due to many pending cases before them which are time consuming and it leads to other important cases being kept on hold. This problem can be solved if there happens to be a separate and independent agency that would deal specifically with corruption[4].

Current Status of Lokayukta Act in India

In most of the states of India Lokayukta Act has been successfully enacted and working, though there are many states in which the act has not been enacted. Those states have their own reason for the non-enactment of Lokayukta act. The name of states, that has enacted lokayukta act are as mentioned:

Lokayukta/lokpal/lokayog Acts in Indian States

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Chhattisgarh (ordinance)
  • Delhi
  • Goa
  • Gujarat
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jharkhand
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharastra
  • Lokpal, Orissa
  • Lokpal Punjab
  • Lokpal, Rajasthan
  • Uttarakhand- adopted from Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttar Pradesh

And there are no Lokayukta in

  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Sikkim
  • Tamil Nadu
  • West Bengal

In July 2016, the LokSabha approved an amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013. Some of the key provisions of the amendment are given below[5]:

  • Enable the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition to be a member of the selection committee that would select the ombudsman.
  • Amends section 44 of parent Act that deals with provision of furnishing of details of assets and liabilities of public servants within 30 days of joining the government service.
  • The amendment has removed the period of 30 days. Now the public servants will make declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by government.
  • Gives extension of the time given to public servants and trustees and board members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to declare their assets and those of their spouses.
  • In this case public servants and trustees and board members of NGOs must be receiving government funds of more than Rs. 1 crore or foreign funding of more than Rs. 10 lakh.

Conclusion

The role of Lokayukta in combating corruption is a very important task. The Lokayukta should be made the nodal agency for receiving all the corruption complaints. The Lokayukta should be accorded jurisdiction over state-level probe agencies. Bureaucracy should be brought under the ambit of lokayuktas and should be accorded power of search and seizure and power to initiate contempt proceedings. The states should provide administrative and financial autonomy and should bring Non-Governmental Organisations funded by the government under Lokayukta’s jurisdiction

[1] Lokpal Bill tabled in Rajya Sabha, din blocks debate. Business Standard India. 13 December 2013.

[2]Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 was amended and consolidated by the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

[3] e.V., Transparency International. “How corrupt is your country?”.

[4] Jan Lokpal Bill version 1.8, available on http://www.annahazare.org/

[5] Source: http://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/lok-sabha-passes-lokpal-lokayukta-amendment-bill-2016-07201634730.html



The December book bucket

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