Undermining the Lokpal

The Lokpal law was enacted to set up an independent institution to ensure proper investigation and prosecution into allegations of corruption against public servants. Members of the Lokpal were appointed in 2019, more than five years after the law was passed, in a manner that undermined public trust in the institution. In 2016, even before the Lokpal became functional, amendments were made to weaken key provisions of the legislation relating to asset disclosures by public servants.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (L&L Act), 20131 (No 1 of 2014), was passed by Parliament in December 2013 and received presidential assent on 1 January 2014. The law was enacted to set up an independent and empowered anti-corruption ombudsman, which would work without fear or favour to tackle cases involving allegations of corruption against public servants. The Lokpal is envisioned to be independent, has been accorded a high stature and given extensive powers, including the power to inquire, investigate, and prosecute acts of corruption.

Political interference in the working of investigative agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been widely recognised and has also been, on multiple occasions, the subject matter of litigation in the Supreme Court.2 The preambular statement of the L&L Act, 2013 notes that the law is being enacted to ensure prompt and fair investigation and prosecution in cases of corruption.

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Updated On : 6th May, 2019

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