This is not meant to be notes for UPSC law Optional, rather it is an supplement to the existing notes.
Table of Contents Question 1 : What is an ombudsman?
Question 9 : Can the Lokpal inquire into allegations of corruption against members of Parliament with respect to vote given by him? Question 10 : Can the Lokpal investigate individuals who are not public servants? Question 11 : Can the Lokpal take action against a person serving in connection with the affairs of a state without the consent of the State Government? PDF of Previous Year Question on Ombudsman : Lokpal, Lokayukta
Lecture sample on Ombudsman [Master Course]
Question 1 : What is an ombudsman?
An ombudsman is a "watchdog of the administration" or "the protector of the little man or citizen", who serves as an alternative to the adversary system for resolving disputes, especially between citizens and government agencies.
Importance : An ombudsman is important because it protects the "little man" against administrative faults by keeping the administration on rails.
Role : The role of an ombudsman is to provide a democratic control mechanism over the powers of the State and bring "renaissance" and "humanism" in the working of modern governments.
Question 2 : What is Lokpal of India and what is its significance?
Lokpal of India is a historic institution formed to eradicate corruption in public offices.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 is an anti-corruption law enacted by the Parliament of India to address concerns and aspirations of citizens for clean governance.
The institution has been granted complete independence to deal with complaints of corruption against public servants, and its formation is significant in restoring faith in the rule of law and promoting equal distribution of resources among citizens.
Question 3 : What is the historical background of Lokpal of India?
The idea of Lokpal was first contemplated in India in the early 1960s to root out corruption in public offices.
The term Lokpal is a Sanskrit word, meaning "People Protector," coined as an Indian variant of the concept of "Ombudsman" with Scandinavian origin.
The First Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended a two-tier machinery consisting of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas to redress public grievances in 1966. The Lokpal at the Centre was recommended to deal with complaints against Ministers and Secretaries.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013 was passed in both houses of Parliament and received assent from the President on 1st January 2014. It was the result of pressure from a movement led by Anna Hazare against corruption in India.
Question 4 : What are some issues with the functioning of the Lokpal?
The Lokpal faces delays in appointments and political influence in its commissioning, and lacks clear criteria for selecting members.
Additionally, the judiciary is excluded from its scope, and there is no efficient provision for appeal against it.
The Lokpal Act of 2013 also does not extend absolute immunity to whistle-blowers.
Question 5 : What was the 2016 amendment to the Lokpal Act and why was it criticized?
The 2016 amendment precluded spouses and dependent children of public servants from revealing their assets and liabilities, and allowed the government to decide the form and manner of unveiling by public servants.
It was criticized for being regressive and not effectively combating the practice of registering assets in the name of spouses and dependent children.
Question 6 : What was the controversy surrounding the Lokpal Act in 2018? In 2018, the Lokpal Act was in the news due to the controversy in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Former director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana accused each other of corruption. The action against Verma was deemed illegal as the appointment and removal of the CBI director cannot be done by the Centre alone but needs to be done by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party, and the Chief Justice of India or any judge of the Supreme Court nominated by them.
Question 7 : What is the Jurisdiction of Lokpal?
Section 14 of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013, a complaint can be filed against-
Any person who is or has been a Prime Minister (with some exclusion which relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space)
Any person who is or has been a Minister of Union
Any person who is or has been a Member of either House of Parliament
Any person who is or has been a Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’ officer or equivalent serving in connection with the affairs of the Government of India.
Any person who is or has been a Group ‘C’ or Group ‘D’ official or equivalent serving in connection with the affairs of the Government of India.
Any person who is or has been a Chairperson, Member, Officer or employee in any Board, Corporation, Authority, Company, Society, Trust or Autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament wholly or partly established by the Government of India.
Any person who is or has been a Director, Manager, Secretary or other Officers of any Society, Association of persons or Trust registered wholly or partly financed by Government of India and the annual income of which exceeds such amount as the Central Government may by notification, specified presently Rs 10 lakh.
Any person who is or has been a Director, Manager, Secretary or Other officers of any Society, Association of persons or any Trust registered under the law and is in receipt of any donations from any foreign source under Foreign Contribution(Regulation) Act, 2010 over Rs.1 crore rupees in a year
Question 8 : Can the Lokpal investigate allegations of corruption against a Prime Minister in all cases?
No, the Lokpal cannot inquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with, any such allegation of corruption against the Prime Minister in so far as it relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space unless a full bench of the Lokpal consisting of its Chairperson and all Members considers the initiation of inquiry and at least two-thirds of its Members approve of such inquiry. [Proviso to Section 14(1)(a)]. Such inquiry held in camera by the Lokpal whose complaint is dismissed shall not be published or made available to anyone.
Question 9 : Can the Lokpal inquire into allegations of corruption against members of Parliament with respect to vote given by him?
No, the Lokpal shall not inquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with, any such allegation of corruption against any member of either House of Parliament in respect of anything said or a vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof covered under the provisions contained in clause (2) of article 105 of the Constitution. [Section 14(2)]
Question 10 : Can the Lokpal investigate individuals who are not public servants?
Yes, the Lokpal may inquire into any act or conduct of any person other than those referred to in sub-section (1), if such person is involved in the act of abetting, bribe giving or bribe taking or conspiracy relating to any allegation of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against a person referred to in sub-section (1).
Question 11 : Can the Lokpal take action against a person serving in connection with the affairs of a state without the consent of the State Government?
No, no action under this section shall be taken in case of a person serving in connection with the affairs of a State, without the consent of the State Government.
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