CBI Current Affairs - 2019

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Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose to be the First Lokpal

The name of former Supreme Court Judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose has been cleared by the Lokpal Selection Committee headed by the Prime Minister. The notification for the appointment is expected to be released soon. Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose would be the first Lokpal of India.

Salient features of the Lokpal Act 2013

  • The Lokpal Act provides for setting up of an anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
  • The Lokpal would consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members of which 50 per cent shall be judicial members.  50 per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
  • The ambit of Lokpal would cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister with the exception of armed forces.
  • The Lokpal Act mandated the states to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  • Lokpal will also have powers of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the Lokpal.
  • Lokpal is appointed based on the recommendation of the five-member panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist nominated by the President.
  • President would appoint the eminent jurist based on the recommendations of the other members of the panel.

The government has proposed an amendment to the Lokpal Act 2013 to enable the leader of the largest Opposition party to be the member of the selection panel in the absence of the leader of Opposition. To designate the leader as Leader of Opposition the largest opposition party must have a strength of at least 10% of the total members in the House and none of the parties managed to cross this mark in 2014 general elections.

SC sets up panel for to suggest reforms for holding competitive exams

The Supreme Court has suggested setting up of a three-member panel comprising of Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of Infosys, and renowned computer scientist Vijay P Bhatkar to suggest reforms for conducting of competitive examinations fairly by government bodies.

The Supreme Court has asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, to suggest a name besides Nilekani and Bhatkar for constituting the panel.

What is the case?

The petitioner Shantantu Kumar had sought cancellation of 2017 SSC examination due to alleged tampering and leaking of question papers. The Supreme Court has put a stay on the declaration of results of SSC 2017 examinations.

The allegations of tampering and leaking of question papers had led to large scale protests from the aspirants. The SSC had recommended the CBI investigation in the case.

CBI had stated in the Supreme Court that FIR has been registered and people involved have been identified, therefore there was no need to cancel the 2017 examination. But the Supreme Court was not convinced and stated that it was not possible either identify the beneficiaries of question paper leaks or who all are innocents.

To overall the structure of conducting competitive exams by the government agencies and to bring in transparency, the SC has suggested setting up of a three-member panel to suggest reforms.