- The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist nominated by the President.
- The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act envisaged appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the States to look into cases of corruption.
- The Lokpal has the jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against PM, Union Minister, Member of Parliament, and officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.
- Pinaki Chandra Ghose is the first Chairperson sworn in by the President on March 23.
India’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman will temporarily work from a five-star luxury hotel- The Ashok in Delhi, say officials. The Lokpal Chairperson, its eight members and support staff are being allocated space in the hotel’s premises, said officials.
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Pinaki Chandra Ghose was sworn in as the Chairperson by President Ram Nath Kovind on March 23 and Lokpal’s eight members were administered the oath on March 27.
Former Chief Justices – Justices Dilip B Bhosale, Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Abhilasha Kumari and Ajay Kumar Tripathi are judicial members of Lokpal. Former first woman chief of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Archana Ramasundaram, ex-Maharashtra chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, former IRS officer Mahendra Singh and Gujarat cadre ex-IAS officer Indrajeet Prasad Gautam are the non-judicial members.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act envisaged appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the States to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants was passed in 2013.
The Lokpal has the jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister or 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.
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 Centre would come under Lokpal. It also covers any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs 10 lakh.
Reports say that a complaint under the Lokpal Act should be in the prescribed form and must pertain to an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act against a public servant. Moreover, there is no restriction on who can make such a complaint.
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When a complaint is received, the Lokpal may order a preliminary inquiry by its Inquiry Wing or refer it for investigation by any agency, including the CBI, if there is a prima facie case.
However, the Lokpal shall call for an explanation from the public servant to determine whether a prima facie case exists before ordering an investigation. The Act states that it will not interfere with any search and seizure that may be undertaken by the investigating agency.
The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the Prime Minister and has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the lower house, Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist nominated by the President or any other member. The chairperson and members shall hold office for a term of five years or till they attain the age of 70 years.