Pinaki Chandra Ghose set to be India’s first Lokpal

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  1. The selection panel led by Prime minister is likely to name Retired Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as India’s first Lokpal,the anti-corruption ombudsman.
  2. An ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by government, who investigates complaints (usually lodged by private citizens) against businesses, financial institutions or government departments or other public entities, and attempts to resolve the conflicts or concerns raised.
  3. The Government had enacted the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act,2013.The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants,including the Prime Minister.But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
  4. The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means,even while the prosecution is pending.The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  5. The Lokpal consists of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.The chairperson and at least half of the members have to be current or former judges of the Supreme Court or chief justices of high courts.
  6. The search panel setup for lokpal recommends at least five names for chairperson and at least three times the number of vacancies in the case of members.This recommendation has to be placed before the high-power selection committee led by the Prime Minister.The selection committee comprises of (a)Prime minister (b)lok sabha speaker (c)the Leader of the Opposition (d)the Chief Justice of India and an (e)eminent jurist.
  7. Upon selection,the chairperson and members shall hold office for a term of five years or till they attain 70 years of age.The salary and allowances of the chairman will be same as that of the Chief Justice of India. The members will be paid salary and allowances same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.