Lokayukta Current Affairs - 2019

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Justice P Lakshmana Reddy appointed as 1st Lokayukta of Andhra Pradesh

Justice P Lakshmana Reddy, a retired judge of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh High Court was sworn-in as the first Lokayukta of Andhra Pradesh. His oath to office was administered by Governor Biswabhusan Hairchandan at a function held in Vijayawada. Chief Minister of state Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, judges of High Court and senior state government officials presided over the event.

Key Highlights

Justice P Lakshmana Reddy would serve in office of Lokayukta for 5 years. He is first Lokayukta to be assuming charge since the state bifurcated in 2014.

The current YSR Congress government headed by Jagan Mohan Reddy amended the Lokayukta Act in recent state budget session. This enabled the appointment of a retired judge as Lokayukta, paving the way for constituting corruption-probing body.

The legislation establishing Lokayukta is part of state government policy to provide transparent and corruption-free governance.

What is Lokayukta?

Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in states. A Lokayukta investigates allegations of corruption and irregularities against officials and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances.

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.