Pinaki Chandra Ghose set to be India’s first Lokpal

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Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, the Former Supreme Court judge and current member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is set to be  India’s first Lokpal or first anti-corruption ombudsman.

Key Facts:

  • He is recommended by High-level selection committee chaired by Prime Minister.
  • Other members of the committee are Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi.
  • An ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by government, who investigates complaints (usually lodged by private citizens) against businesses, financial institutions or government departments or other public entities, and attempts to resolve the conflicts or concerns raised.
  • The government was prompted to make the selection after the Supreme Court set the February-end deadline.

Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act-2013:

  • The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement, provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States to probe corruption complaints against top functionaries and public servants, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers.
  • Constitution of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas :- states to set up Lokayukta within a period of 365 days from the commencement of the Act.
  • Composition :- Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members , of which 50 percent shall be judicial members and 50 % of members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs , minorities and women.
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  • Selection Committtee :- The selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be through a selection committee consisting of Prime minister , Speaker of Lok Sabha , Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha , Chief Justice of India or sitting judge of Supreme Court nominated by CJI , eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee.
  • Jurisdiction of Lokpal :- Prime Minister has been brought under the purview of superintendence.All the entities receiving donations from foreign sources in the context of FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act) in excess of 10 lakh per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
  • Power with respect to CBI :-Lokal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal. Transfer of officers of CBI of any investigating cases referred by Lokpal with approval of the Lokpal.
  • Attachment of property :- The act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property by corrupt means even while the prosecution is pending . The act lays down clear time lines for preliminary enquiry , investigation and trial.

Source:The Hindu

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