Lokayukta Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
The Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016 without discussion.
The bill seeks to amend the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 which provides Lokpal (at Centre) and Lokayukta (at States) statutory backing to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.
- 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.