Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Sensitization on Lokpal & Lokayukta

Presentation of Advocate Kezhokhoto Savi,(national award recipient) Asst. Professor, Kohima Law College & President NVCO as speaker on a training – “ Sensitization on LOKPAL & LOKAYUKTA” for Group A officers from 30 departments, Govt. of Nagaland organized by Administrative Training Institute(ATI), Nagaland , Kohima on 20th Sept, 2022.
The Lokpal & Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States. They perform the function of an “Ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters. The institution of the Ombudsman was inaugurated officially in Sweden in 1809 and this is the origin where the concept of constitutional Ombudsman was first proposed by the then Law Minister Ashok Kumar Sen in India in parliament in the early 1960’s and the term Lokpal & Lokayukta were coined by Dr. L.M. Singhvi.
In 1968, Lokpal Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but lapsed with the dissolution of Lok Sabha and since then it has lapsed in the Lok Sabha many times. In 2011, the government formed a group of ministers, chaired by Pranab Mukherjee to suggest measures to tackle corruption and examine the proposal of a Lokpal Bill. However, a pressure group called – “India Against Corruption Movement” led by Anna Hazare together the members consisted of Arvind Kejriwal(RTI Acitivist), IPS retired Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnivesh, Sri. Ravi Shanker, Malika Sarabhai put pressure on the United Progressive Alliance(UPA) government at the centre and resulted in the passing of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013, in both the Houses of Parliament. It received assent from President on 1st January 2014 and came into force on 16th January 2014. The Bill was drafted by Justice Santosh Hedge, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal. Anna Hazare, an anti-corruption began a fast-unto-death, demanding to be adopted.
Lokpal in Sanskrit mean “defender of people” or “people’s Friend”. A Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or body of ombudsman who represents the public interests in the Republic of India. First Lokpal was Justice Pinaki Chandra Bose. Why this institution is required? It is absolutely necessary because maladministration is like a termite which slowly erodes the foundation of a nation and hindered administration from completing its task. Corruption is the root cause of this problem. Most of the anti-corruption agencies are hardly independent. Even Supreme Court of India has been termed CBI as a ‘caged parrot’ and ‘its master’s voice’. With a strong hope that an independent institution of Lokpal could be a landmark move in the history of Indian polity which offered a solution to the never-ending menace of corruption. The Act 2013 also provides that all states should set up the office of the Lokayukta within one year from the commencement of the Act. As provided in the Act the public servants are to make a declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner given by the government. The jurisdiction of Lokpal includes Prime Minister, Minister, Member of Parliament, Group A, B, C & D officers & officials of Central government.
The word ‘Lokayukta’ is derived from Sanskrit word which means “appointed by the people”. It is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states and the origin of Lokayukta can be trace back to the ombudsman in Scandinavian countries. Lokayukta can be defined in simple terms as an Anti-Corruption Act or it can also be considered as a watchdog to pinpoint the wrong doing of the administration, to look into the complaints of the people and to suggest measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Government. The establishment of the institution of Lokayukta in the state is to provide clean, transparent, and accountable Government of the people. The Lokayukta Bill was passed by the Parliament to fight against Corruption. Corruption is internationally recognized as a major problem which is capable of threatening the Social, Economic, and Political development of a country. Corruption is anti-National, Anti-Life, Anti-Poor, and Anti-Economic development. The Supreme Court also remarked that corruption is like disease called cancer and if not detected in time it grows bigger and bigger and it will malignise the polity of the country leading to disastrous consequence. And because of the increase of corruption in our society it gave birth to Lokayukta.
Corruption means misuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain. In the context Corruption has been deeply rooted in the field of administration as well as political and judicial system and some of the common corrupt practices are as follows ; i) abuse of power – using position or status to discriminate somebody or gain something from that person ii) nepotism – giving jobs to family, relatives and family members iii) favoritism – giving unfair opportunity to friends iv) extortion – obtained by force, threats or unfair means v) bribery – taking money to give people’s job, profession, treatment or dishonestly persuade someone for help through cash vi) embezzlement – stealing money or resources that is under one’s control vii) fraud – making false claims for benefits, etc.
States like Orissa, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, A.P, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, M.P, Himachal Pradesh, U.P, Haryana, Goa and some others has implemented this Lokayukta and has been functioning effectively in fighting against corruption. And Karnataka Lokayukta is considered to be the most powerful institute in the country as it leads to the investigation of Karnataka Chief Minister in relating to illegal mining in the year 2011. Lokayukta is a person who is appointed by the Governor, he must be a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court and an independent person not holding any office of profit, and members are not to be member of parliament or legislature of state or connected with any political party and comprising of state vigilance commissioner and a jurist or an eminent administrator as members known as Upa-lokayukta function together as an independent body which is free from the influence of the government, politicians, ministers, etc. They have power to search and seize any document of the public servant during investigations.
The main objective of Lokayukta is to curb the menace of corruption providing within the State. When any individual makes a complaint against the ‘public servant’ relating to corruption, mal-administration, favoritism, nepotism, etc, the Lokayukta looks into such matters and investigates and if they find out that the allegations are true, the public servant is punished. Public servant includes the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the M.L.A, the Vice-Chancellor of Universities, Bureaucrats, Secretaries and the higher-ups of the Government department. Lokayukta is a great check on corruption, bring about transparency in the system, to make state administrative machinery citizen friendly. His function largely depends upon jurisdiction vested in him and facilities provided for taking cognizance of citizens grievances. He protects Citizens right against mal-administration, corruption, delay, inefficiency, non-transparency, abuse of position, improper conduct, etc. He is representative of legislature, powerful friend of citizens. He looks forward in establishing an ‘open Government’ securing respect for the rule of law, an educator aiming at propagating the prevention of corruption, inefficiency and oral-administration in governance. As corruption in public life is a gross violation of human rights. It is anti-people, anti-development and anti-national. It is essential that the three pillars of democracy i.e, legislature, judiciary, and executives are strong in structure and in pure in form and are un-corrupted.
Kezhokhoto Savi,
Advocate & President NVCO