Context: According to a Right to Information reply, more than two years after the Lokpal came into being, the Centre is yet to appoint a director of inquiry.
More in the news:
- An appointment of a director of inquiry for conducting a preliminary inquiry into graft complaints sent by the anti-corruption ombudsman.
- The Lokpal, the apex body to inquire and investigate graft complaints against public functionaries, came into being with the appointment of its chairperson and members in March 2019.
What does the law say about the appointment of the Director of Inquiry?
- According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, there shall be a director of inquiry, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
- S/he shall be appointed by the Central government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by the Lokpal.
Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013:
- It seeks to establish the institution of the Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayukta at the level of the State and thus seeks to provide a uniform vigilance and anti-corruption road map for the nation both at the Centre and at the States.
- The jurisdiction of Lokpal:
- It includes the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of the Central Government.
- The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson with a maximum of 8 members of which 50% shall be judicial members.
- 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall come from amongst the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities, and women.
- The selection of the Chairperson and the members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of:
- Prime Minister,
- Speaker of the Lok Sabha,
- Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha,
- Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by the Chief Justice of India and
- An eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee.
- A Search Committee will assist the Selection Committee in the process of selection.
- 50% of the members of the Search Committee shall also be from amongst the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities, and women.
- The Prime Minister has been brought under the purview of the Lokpal with subject matter exclusions and a specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister.
- The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigating agency, including the CBI, for cases referred to them by the Lokpal.
- Institutions that are financed fully or partly by the Government are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal, but institutions aided by Government are excluded.
- It provides adequate protection for honest and upright public servants.
- Lokpal was conferred with power to grant sanction for prosecution of public servants in place of the Government or competent authority.
- All entities receiving donations from foreign sources in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs.10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
- It contains a mandate for setting up the institution of Lokayukta through the enactment of a law by the State Legislature within a period of 365 days from the date of commencement of this Act.
- Thus, the Act provides the freedom to the states to decide upon the contours of the Lokayukta mechanism in their respective states.