LOKPAL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     11th March 2024        

Context: Recently, former Supreme Court judge Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was administered the oath of office as the Lokpal chairperson by President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


  • About: The Lokpal of India serves as the nation's inaugural anti-corruption entity, established four years ago to probe complaints against public officials.
  • Establishment: Despite the passage of the Act in 2013, the appointment of India's first Lokpal occurred on March 19, 2019, alongside the selection of eight additional members.
  • Composition of Lokpal: The Lokpal is a multi-member body with one chairperson and up to eight members.

oHalf of the maximum eight members will be judges, and at least half of the members will be from the SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities and women groups.

  • Autonomy in enquiry and prosecution: The Lokpal will have to appoint an Inquiry Wing, headed by a Director of Inquiry, and a Prosecution Wing, headed by a Director of Prosecution. 
  • Appointment of Lokpal: The president appoints the members after a Selection Committee recommends them.

oA search panel of at least eight people is formed by the selection committee (Headed by PM) to select the chairperson and members.

oLokpal Chairman and Members serve for five years or until they reach the age of 70.

  • Powers of the Lokpal:

oJurisdiction: The Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C, and D officers and officials of the Central Government are all subject to Lokpal's jurisdiction.

oPro Active Disclosure: The Lokpal Act requires all elected officials to disclose their assets and liabilities, as well as those of their dependents.

üIt has the authority to supervise and direct CBI's operations.

üWhen Lokpal refers a case to the CBI, the investigating officer cannot be transferred without Lokpal's permission.

  • Power of civil court: The Lokpal's Inquiry Wing has been given the authority of a civil court.

üIn exceptional cases, Lokpal has the authority to seize properties, proceeds, receipts, and benefits obtained through corruption.

  • Ensure neutrality: Lokpal has the authority to recommend the transfer or suspension of a public servant accused of corruption.
  • Preserve evidences: During the preliminary investigation, Lokpal has the authority to issue orders to avoid the destruction of documents.
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