(IGP) GS Paper 1 – Indian Polity & Governance – “Lokpal & Lok Ayukta”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS

Subject – Indian Polity & Governance
Chapter : Lokpal & Lok Ayukta


  • The office of the ombudsman originated-in Sweden in 1809 and has been
    adopted by many nations.

  • The Swedish word Ombudsman means “a procurator or agent of civil
    affairs”, may be interpreted as “the people’s advocate”.

  • Ombudsman is a government official who investigates citizens’ complaints
    against the high government functionaries.

  • Though appointed by the legislature he is an independent functionary –
    independent of all the three organs of the state, but reports to the

  • The Ombudsman can act both on the basis of complaints made by citizens,
    or suo moto- that is on his own initiative. He can look into allegations of
    corruption as well as maladministration.


  • Lokpal is synonymous to the institution of Ombudsman existing in the
    Scandinavian countries.

  • The Administrative reforms Commission (ARC) set up in 1966 recommended
    the constitution of a two-tier machinery of a Lokpal at the Centre, and
    Lokayuktas in the states as it will remove the sense of injustice from the
    minds of citizens and also install public confidence in the efficiency of
    administrative machinery.

  • The Lokpal was visualized as the watchdog institution on ministerial

  • Broadly the provisions of different bills empowered the Lokpal to
    investigate corruption cases against Government political functionaries at
    the highest level in the Central government

Essential features of the Lokpal Bill 2001 are:

  • Objective is to provide speedy, cheaper form of justice to people.

  • Members: Lokpal is to be a three member body with a chairperson who is or had
    been a chief justice or judge of the Supreme Court; and its two other members
    who are judges or chief justices of high courts.

  • Appointment The chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President on
    the recommendation of a committee consisting of the following persons. (a) The
    Vice-President (Chairman) (b) The PM (c) The Speaker of LS (d) Home Minister (e)
    Leader of the House, other than the house in which PM is a member (f) Leaders of
    Opposition of both the houses.

  • Lokpal will have its own administrative machinery for conducting investigations.

  • Jurisdiction of Lokpal: The central level political functionaries like the
    Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister, the Members of Parliament

  • The Lokpal shall complete the inquiry within a period of six months.

  • The Lokpal has the power of a civil court to summon any person or authority.

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Why Lokpal Bill has not been passed in the last more than 4 decades:

Reasons for the delay in enactment of the Bill centre around lack of
consensus on the following:

  • Whether the office of the Prime Minister be brought under the purview of

  • Whether the Lokpal should have its own investigation machinery, or it
    should depend on the existing ones

  • Whether proceedings should be held in camera or otherwise

  • Whether the recommendations should be binding or not


  • The National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution
    (NCRWC)2000-2002- in its report submitted in 2002 stressed the need to enact
    legislation on Lokpal.

  • It recommended that the Constitution be amended to incorporate a
    provision making it obligatory on the state governments to set up the
    institution of Lokayukta.

Second ARC and Rashtriya Lokayukta

  • The second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) set up in 2005
    recommended that the Lokpal be given a constitutional status and renamed
    the “Rashtriya Lokayukta.”

  • In its fourth report on “Ethics in Governance,” (2007) the
    Commission recommended steps to bring about greater transparency and
    accountability in governance at all levels and root out corruption


  • The first Lokayukta institution was established in the State of
    Orissa in the year 1970 ‘There after, this institution was established
    in different States in different years namely: Maharashtra (1972), Bihar
    (1974), Uttar Pradesh (1977), Madhya Pradesh (1981), Andhra Pradesh
    (1983), Himachal Pradesh (1983), Karnataka (l984) etc.

  • Lokayukta laws are in force in seventeen States today.

  • However the power, function and jurisdiction of Lokayuktas are the
    not uniform in the country. In some states it has been applicable to all
    the elected representatives including the CM.

  •  in some other states legislators have been kept out of his

  • In some states, Lokayuktas have not been provided with their
    independent investigative machinery making them dependent on the
    government agencies infrastructure is inadequate and so is staff.

The issues with reference to Lokayukta are:

  • Time bound installation of Lokayukta institution

  • Providing it with adequate infrastructure

  • Providing it with an independent investigative agency

  • Giving it scope that includes the highest government
    functionaries – political and administrative

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