Top sources have informed Republic TV that Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, former Supreme Court judge, is likely to be appointed as the country’s first Lokpal. The sources said that the government is expected to make the official announcement regarding Justice PC Ghose's appointment soon.
Here is what the Lokpal Act and the anti-graft committtee is all about.
What is the Lokpal Bill:
The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Advocate Shanti Bhushan, whose purpose was to reduce corruption in the government. It was not passed at that time. The demand for the Bill gathered public attention and support after a massive movement led by activist Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal , Kiran Bedi, (both who had then not entered politics then) and several other notable civil society members and was finally passed in 2013 by the Centre.
The Bill was taken up in the parliament about eight times since 1968.
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What is the Lokpal Act:
The Lokpal Act, which envisages the establishment of the anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed in 2013.
Provisions of the Act:
- The Act consists of a team called Lokpal which is headed by a chairperson and consists of eight people
- The committee has the power to probe people having acquiring money through corrupt means.
- All categories of public servants will fall under the Lokpal for scrunity including the Prime Minister.
- The Indian armed forces will be exempted from the Act.
Special powers of the Lokpal:
- One of the significant powers of the Lokpal is to protect public servants who act as whistle-blowers using the Whistle Blowers Protection Act.
- It will also allow the trial to be conducted in a special court if they feel that the trial is of importance.
- Lokpal can fine those who have filed false complaints and the fines can go up to Rs 2 lakhs.
Who can apply for the Lokpal:
- Besides, individuals with "impeccable integrity and outstanding ability" having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters related to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, and law and management are eligible to apply.
- Those with less than 45 years of age are not eligible to apply.
- For the appointment as the chairman, a person who is or has been Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge is eligible to apply.
Who cannot apply for the Lokpal:
- As per the present government's advertisement, the chief and members of the Lokpal are not eligible for reappointments.
- They will also not be eligible for any diplomatic assignment, appointment as administrator of a Union territory and for further employment to any other office of profit under the government of India.
- The Act prevents the chief and members of the Lokpal from contesting any election of President or member of either house of Parliament or member of either house of a state legislature or municipality or panchayat within a period of five years from the date of relinquishing the post.
Who are in the selection committee:
The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the prime minister and has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, leader of the opposition in the lower house, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had been invited in the past meetings of the selection panel as "special invitee".
President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi as "eminent jurist" as the member of the panel against the vacancy arising following the death of senior advocate P P Rao.
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(With PTI inputs)