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The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 had been enacted with the intention to provide a legal body that could help keep a tab on the corrupt practices of the government. The Lokpal has been entrusted with the duty to enquire into th corruption charges against the government officials and other public functionaries. In this regard, the question of jurisdiction of the Lokpa to enquire into the corruption allegations assumes great importance and the 2013 Act in its chapter VI has laid down the provisions regarding the jurisdictional competency of the Lokpal.

SECTION 14 : The Lokpal is authorised to enquire into an allegation of corruption against a prsent or an ex prime minister, minister of the Union or mininter of either house of parliament. However, allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister related to international relations, external security, public order, atomic energy and space has been kept outside the Lokpal's jurisdiction. Also the prime minister acn be inquired only when the full bench of the Lokpal with its Chairperson and all members favours the enquiry and atleast two thirds of its memebers gives the approval. The inquiry should be held in camera and on the dismissal of the proceedings , it shouldbe kept confidential. Any group A or group B or group C or group D official or anyone who is equivalent or above the posts of the public servants defined in section 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 either serving or has served in connection withthe affairs of the Union can be inquired by the Lokpal on the allegations of corruption. Further any person associated with a body thathas been established by an Act of Parliament or is wholly or partially financed by the Central Government or iscontrolled by it comes under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal's authority. A director, manager, secretary or officer of any society, association, trust, etc which exceeds the limit specified by the Central Government or the annual income of which exceeds te limit specified by the Central Government by notification or is a receiver of any donation from any foreign source under the Foreign Contribution ( Regulation ) Act, 2010.

A Minister of Parliament cannot be subjected to an inquiry by the Lokpal due to any speech made or any vote casted by him/ her in Parliament or any Committee under article 105 of the Constitution.

If any person is involved in the Act of abetting , bribe giving or taking or any conspiracy relationg to corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, he/ she fall under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal's inquiry.

Any complaint made to the Lokpal shall be referred to inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

SECTION 15 : Any matter relating to corruption under the Prevention of CorruptionAct, 1988 pending before any court or parliamnentary commitee or any authority before the commencement of the Act, shall remain before such court/ committee/ authority even after the commencement of such Act.

SECTION 16 : The bench of Lokpal shall exercise the jurisdiction and shall comprise of a chairperson ( who shall be presiding over the bench ) or two ormore ormore memebers as the chairperson thinks necessary.Atleast one judicial member shall be in the bench. In the absence of the Chairperson, the judicial member shall preside over the bench. The seat of the Lokpal shall be in New Delhi ordinarily or at any other palce asmay be specified. The Lokpal shall decide the areas over whicha bench should exercise its jurisdiction.The power of constituition or reconstituion of a bench at any time shall lie with the the Lokpal.

SECTION 17 : the chairperson may notify about the distribution of the matters amongst the various benches from time to time.

SECTION 18 : Regarding an application of transfer, after providing adequate opportunity to the complainant or the public servant of being heard, the chairperson may transfer the case to any other bench for disposal.

SECTION 19 : In case of a deadlock in the bench due to even number of members, the differing point shall be referred  to the chairperson who may hear the points himself or may refer it to the other members of Lokpal and the decison shall be made according to the decisions of the majority of the members of the Lokpal who had heard the case and including those who heard it first.

  • jurisdictional powers of the lokpal
  • relevant sections of the Lokpal and Lokauaktas Act, 2013
  • conditions attached to exercising such powers

BY : Mekhla Chakraborty

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