- Pinaki Chandra Ghose has been appointed Chairman of India Lokpal or Anti-Corruption Agent.
- The formation of India's anti-corruption ombudsman has been expected over the last six years since
Lokpal Billfirst passed in 2013.
- Lokpal has the power to look at incidents of corruption at all levels of public service, including the prime minister.
Pinaki Chandra Ghose, former judge of the Indian Supreme Court and a member of the National Human Rights Commission (HRC), has been appointed the country's first anti-corruption representative or chairman of
The design of a committee that will investigate corruption events within the Indian government has been in operation for six years now, as the Lokpal law first went into 201
It was not until September last year that a selection committee was formed led by Ranjana Prakash, a former Supreme Court, and led by India's current prime minister Narendra Modi.
Even then, the opposition leader, Mallikarjun Kharge – who is also a member of
Lokpal – refused to attend the meetings. Not that it hindered the selection process since the Supreme Court clarified in 2017, where they argued that the opposition leaders should not necessarily be present for the committee to decide on the appointments for
What exactly is an anti-corruption agent?
According to the Lokpal Act, 2013, the Ombudsman against corruption or
Lokpal has the power to investigate any corruption complaints against any public entity – including the Prime Minister. But in order to investigate the prime minister, it must be approved by two-thirds of the committee.
It replaces the authority for all other investigative bodies, including the Central Investigation Office (CBI).
Every officer in the CBI who is in a case assigned by
Lokpal cannot even leave without prior approval from the Ombudsman.
Apart from investigative complaints about corruption, it is also
Lokpal's responsibility to ensure that any public official who is a whistleblower is protected on his watch.
The idea of setting up a corruption ombudsman on the spot was first run in 1963 during a parliamentary session when the budget ministry's budget was discussed. A bill for its formation also reached Parliament in 1968 but despite eight attempts – no one actually passed.
It was only in 2013 that the Lokpal Act finally passed, also after a nationwide protest led by India against corruption – a civil society movement led by activist Anna Hazare.
Six years later, India's Supreme Court told the Indian government to form a committee to designate the country's first
Lokpal in January. A non-governmental organization called common cause even filed an application and contempt for the petition in 2014 during the delay.
It's not just the delay that is being delayed. Most states are also appointed
Lokayuktas, something that would be in place within a year after the Lokpal Act kicking in.