- The Lokayukta (also Lok Ayukta) ( lokāyukta, “civil commissioner”) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
- 1st in Maharashtra in 1971
- Odisha passed Act in 1970 but came into force in 1983
- Structural Variations not same in all the states
- Appointed by the governor in consultation with chief justice of HC & leader of Opposition of legislative assembly
- Once appointed, cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.
- Term-05 Years or 65 Yrs of age whichever is earlier (Not Eligible for reappointment)
- No uniformity regarding the jurisdiction of lokayukta
- Some states have included CMs & some have excluded
- Ministers and higher civil servants are included
- Members of state legislatures in some states
- Authorities of the local bodies, corporations, companies and societies are included
- Annual report to Governor which will be placed before state legislature (responsible for SLA)
- Takes the help of the state investigating agencies
- Can call for relevant files and documents from the state government departments
- Only advisory and not binding.
- The Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.
Selection of Lokayukta
- The Chief Minister selects a person as the Lokayukta after consultation with the High Court Chief Justice, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council.
- The appointment is then made by the Governor.
- Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.
Jurisdiction of Lokayukta
The public servants who are covered by the Act include:
- all Ministers and Members of the State Legislature;
- all officers of the State Government;
- Chairman, Vice Chairman of local authorities, Statutory bodies or Corporations established by or under any law of the State Legislature, including Co-operative Societies;
- Persons in the service of Local Authorities, Corporations owned or controlled by the State Government, a company in which not less than 50% of the shares are held by the State Government, Societies registered under the State Registration Act, Co-operative Societies
- If after investigation, the Lokayukta is satisfied that the public servant has committed any criminal offence, he may initiate prosecution without reference to any other authority. Any prior sanction required under any law for such prosecution shall be deemed to have been granted.
Role of Lokayukta
- Lokayukta investigates cases of corruption, where substantiated, recommend action.
- It is a great check on corruption, brings about transparency in the system, makes administrative machinery citizen friendly.
- His functions largely depend upon jurisdiction vested in him and facilities provided for taking cognizance of citizens’ grievances promptly, dexterously and expeditiously through simple, informal mechanism devoid of technicalities.
- Constitutional Amendment for Effectiveness
- An amendment to the Constitution has been proposed to implement the Lokayukta uniformly across Indian states.
- The proposed changes will make the institution of Lokayukta uniform across the country as a three-member body, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or high court chief justice and comprising the state vigilance commissioner and a jurist or an eminent administrator as other members.
Limitations of Lokayukta
- In most states it can initiate investigations either on the basis of a complaint received from the citizen against unfair administrative action or suo moto.
- does not enjoy the power to start investigations on his own initiative in UP, Himachal Pradesh, Assam
- job of lokayuktas is confined toinvestigating allegations (corruption) and not grievances(maladministration) in Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh,Rajasthan and Gujarat
- Consider the cases of ‘grievances’ as well as ‘allegations’ in the States of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Karnataka
- Only advisory and not binding
In November 2012, after conclusion of the 11th All India Lokayukta Conference, as many as 16 Lokayuktas sent many recommendations to the Govt of India. The recommendations were:
- Make Lokayukta the nodal agency for receiving all corruption complaints.
- Accord Lokayukta jurisdiction over State-levelprobe agencies.
- Bring bureaucrats under the ambit of the Lokayuktas.
- Accord powers of search and seizure and powers to initiate contempt
- Provide Lokayukta administrative and financial autonomy.
- Bring Non-Governmental Organisations(NGO) funded by the government under Lokayukta’s jurisdiction
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