The anti-corruption ombudsman organisation in India’s states is called Lokayukta. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, made it possible to create the Lokpal institution at the federal level and the Lokayuktas institution at the state level to look into claims of corruption against public officials and other related issues.
The Scandinavian Ombudsmen are the ancestors of Lokayukta. An Ombudsman is typically chosen to protect the public from all forms of bad administration. Sweden was the first nation to create an Ombudsman organisation in 1809.
The first ARC called for the creation of two unique agencies named as “Lokpal” and “Lokayukta” to address public issues. In its report titled “Ethics in Governance,” the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (SARC) suggested that the Lokayukta be a multi-member body with a judicial member as chairperson, an eminent jurist or eminent administrator with credentials as a member, and the head of the State Vigilance Commission as an ex-officio member.
As a result of the Indian government’s efforts to purge the administrative system of corruption and anomalies, Lokpal and Lokayukta were established as two anti-corruption watchdogs.
Lokayuktas Act, 2013
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, also referred to as the Lokpal Act, aims to appoint a Lokpal for the Union and a Lokayukta for each state to look into allegations of corruption or wasteful spending against public servants.
The Act is applicable to “public servants” both inside and outside of India, and it covers the entire nation. The Lokayukta will serve as a watchdog in our democratic system, supporting citizens in reporting cases of corruption, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti-Corruption Bureau. The patterns of the organisation and the function of Lokayuktas in various states varied noticeably.
Lokayukta Organizational Structure
All of the states’ Lokayukta structures differ from one another. There are certain states that have both the Lokayukta and the Up-Lokayukta, including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Only the Lokayukta was founded in other states, such as Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. There is no Lokayukta of Up-Lokayukta in Jammu & Kashmir. For instance, the following operational wings make up the Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta
- Administrative and Enquiry Section
- Legal Section
- Special Police Establishment (SPE)
- Technical Cell
- District Vigilance Committees
The Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta are two independent, unbiased organisations established to look into the actions and decisions of public employees. These authority are separate from the legislative and executive branches and are subject to the same standards as judges on the Supreme Court and High Court. They are appointed by the Governor. When appointing appointments, the Governor confers with both the Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly and the Chief Justice of the State High Court.
Also Read: Lokpal
Lokayukta Qualification and Term of office
The Lokayukta must have judicial training in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Odisha. But there are no statutory requirements in the states of Bihar, Maharashtra, or Rajasthan. The Lokayukta’s tenure of office in the majority of states is five years or 70 years old (Himachal Pradesh), whichever comes first, and they are not eligible for reappointment.
When it comes to the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction, there is no consistency. For instance, in Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, the Chief Minister is subject to the Lokayukta’s authority, but not in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, or Bihar.
Ministers and higher government officials are subject to the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction in the majority of states. In Maharashtra, there are also current and former civil servants. The state legislature is the Lokayukta’s boss. Its yearly report is delivered to the legislature, and the House typically accepts its recommendations.
The Lokayukta has the following authority in this situation: supervisory authority, which is the authority to oversee and direct matters referred for an initial inquiry or investigation; power of search and seizure; in some circumstances, civil court power; the ability to employ the services of state government employees; the ability to temporarily seize assets; the ability to formally seize assets; and, in some situations, the ability to seize assets, revenues, receipts, and benefits obtained through corruption.
Lokayukta has power to recommend a public servant’s transfer or suspension in connection with a corruption allegation; power to recommend a public servant’s transfer or suspension in connection with a corruption allegation; power to give instructions to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary investigation; and Ability to delegate.
The following recommendations were not followed by the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013. Whistleblower protection was among the Jan Lokpal Bill’s main demands. The Act does not cover whistleblower protection. A unique law will be required for it. There is only one Lokayukta-related section of the Act, and it requires that states approve the Lokayukta Act within a year.
However, there is no information available regarding their make-up, abilities, or other traits. In actuality, states have total discretion over the selection, operation, and conditions of their own Lokayuktas. There are no clauses in the Citizen’s Charter. In order to challenge the Lokayukta, which is unable to conduct its own investigations, there are insufficient processes.
The efficiency of the government machinery determines the scope of democracy and growth to a larger extent. People should be able to air their problems through an efficient and effective method of redress in a democracy. People’s democratic aspirations and the administration’s authoritarian approach created conflict. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.