The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, usually called The Lokpal Act, is a Statute that aims to curb corruption, “tries to accommodate the foundation of the establishment of Lokpal to ask into claims of defilement against certain open functionaries and for matters interfacing them”.
Maharashtra was the principal state to present the Lokayukta concept through The Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in the year, 1971. Right now, there are no Lokayuktas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir.
The first Lokpal Bill was presented in the Lok Sabha in 1968. The variant sanctioned in 2013 was from a draft arranged in 2010. The Bill is an execution of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. To make recommendations to the Lokpal Bill, a total of 11 parliamentary boards were framed. The Bill was finally put forward in the Lok Sabha for the first time on 22 December 2011 and the House passed it on 27 December as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011. It was then submitted to the Rajya Sabha on 29 December 2011. After a series of arguments that extended until midnight of the next day, there could be no vote on the Bill due to lack of time. On 21 May 2012, it was given to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for recommendations. After making specific alterations to the Bill, it was finally passed in the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 and in the Lok Sabha on the following day. On 1 January 2014, it got consent from President Pranab Mukherjee and came into compelling from 16 January.
ALSO READ: Doctrine Of Fair Use
However, it has not been appropriately constituted considering the fact that the Selection Committee, involving the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge assigned by him, and a legal scholar selected by the President on the premise of suggestions of the initial four individuals, did not meet even once. The reason cited as to why the council couldn’t meet was that there was no perceived support of the House from the side of the Opposition Leader according to the current arrangements of the Act since Congress-which developed as the biggest single party after the BJP in the last votes – secured just 44 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 election, and so it couldn’t get the status of the Opposition Leader, in the House.
This provision of the Act should be changed with the end goal to encourage the pioneer of the most significant single Opposition, to become a part of the Selection Committee. Even though the Government has consented to make rectifications to the Lokpal Act, it has not yet emerged as such, as it has been clubbed together with other proposed changes causing it to be postponed, and alluded it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Committee had presented its report in December a year ago, affirming the proposed alteration.
The Supreme Court bench including the Chief Justice, T.S. Thakur, and Judges D.Y. Chandrachud, and L. Nageswara Rao, on November 23, 2016 questioned the Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, on why the Court couldn’t interpret the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, in a way to effectuate it, till the Parliament could revise the Act. Prior, senior supporter, and previous Union Law Minister, Shanti Bhushan, while speaking to the solicitor made an intense supplication to the Bench to decipher and interpret the Act, to bring Lokpal into reality as quickly as possible, as the Legislature has not demonstrated any enthusiasm for completing the required alterations to the Acting order to make it effective. Saying that the Act was finally passed in 2013 after a long and strenuous campaign driven by Anna Hazare, Shanti Bhushan asked: “Do we require another Anna Andolan to bring Lokpal into being?”
Rohatgi told the bench that the Government would soon take a look at the proposed revision, and asked for time till December 7, to receive directions from the Government on whether the Court could interpret the Bill till the Parliament corrects the Act so as to encourage the leader of the single biggest opposition to take an interest in the Selection Committee discussions for the purpose of selection of Lokpal individuals. Be that as it may, the Bench, while supporting Shanti Bhushan’s enthusiastic interest, asked the Attorney General, the explanations behind the postponement of three years, in doing the essential corrections to the Act. Even though Shanti Bhushan asked for first listening on the very next day, the Bench deferred it to December 7, thus conforming to the AG’s proposal to allow the Government adequate time. What happens now remains to be seen.