Question: The current Lokpal is far from an efficient organisation. Explain the salient features and drawbacks of current Lokpal act. Suggest measures to improve.
Lokpal is a position based on the role of ombudsman in Sweden. The Lokpal Act of 2013 under Indian constitution mentions the role of Lokpal and its power.
Role of Lokpal in preventing corruption
- Accountability at all levels of administration
All levels of officers including Group A and Group B are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal. Higher political office including the Prime Minister are liable to the Lokpal. This makes the role of Lokpal very important in democracy.
- Time based Investigation
Unlike other investigation agencies, the Lokpal works under strict time line. The investigation and trial of the case under their jurisdiction has to be completed within a stipulated time. This allowed Lokpal to be an efficient organisation.
Drawbacks of current Lokpal act
- Advisory body
In the current form, the Lokpal is designed as only an advisory body. They have to report the crime to a competent agency and do not have power to take actions. This makes Lokpal a toothless tiger.
- Lack of clarification on the role of Central agencies
After Lokpal has been constituted, the role of agencies like CBI , NIA have not been properly defined.
How the jurisdiction of the agencies pan out is still not clear.
- Not applicable for Common citizens
Common citizens cannot register complaints under Lokpal regarding corruption under current provision. They have to be under parliament mercy to get access to complaints.
- The Lokpal act needs strengthening to make it more stringent and serious measure to tackle wrongdoings by the individual in power. The jurisdiction have to be widened.
- Instead of legislating measures to locate and punish crime, steps should be taken to make Lokpal a preventive mechanism. It should work towards preventing crimes.
- The state representative of Lokpal, Lokayukta needs more power to regularise administration. There is also a need to make Lokpal and Lokayukta accountable too so that they do not use their position to carry out illegal activities.
Thus, the position of Lokpal has great potential to reduce wrongdoings in Indian system. But the position is still underdeveloped and less empowered.