Former Supreme Court judge Justice P C Ghose has been appointed as India's first Lokpal, or anti-corruption ombudsman. Photo: Bharati Vidyapeeth/Facebook

India has appointed former Supreme Court Judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman or chairman of the Lokpal.

Over the last five years, countless calls from activists have blamed the Narendra Modi-led government for delaying the appointment of a national anti-corruption ombudsman. After variations of it were allowed to lapse for decades, the Lokpal Act was at last passed in 2013 and came into force on January 16, 2014. Now, finally India gets its Lokpal ahead of general elections scheduled to start on April 11.

The anti-corruption ombudsman or Lokpal has the power to investigate any complaint of corruption against any public entity — including the Prime Minister. It is supposed to be an empowered, independent body that will fight corruption in public services and cases involving high-level government functionaries and benefit the common people. However, in order to conduct an investigation into the Prime Minister, it would need approval from two-thirds of the Lokpal committee.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice P C Ghose as the chairperson of the Lokpal committee along with eight committee members drawn from both judicial and non-judicial circles. The appointments were recommended by a selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ghose is also part of the National Human Rights Commission.

The appointments took place after the Supreme Court on March 7 directed Attorney General KK Venugopal to submit within 10 days the date on which the prime minister-led panel would meet to appoint the Lokpal.

The Aam Aadmi Party has already decided to file complaints with the Lokpal over alleged corruption by PM Modi in the Rafale fighter jets deal and Sahara-Birla diaries. Following this, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Delhi said it would raise the issue of alleged non-declaration of assets and liabilities by Aam Aadmi Party’s lawmakers.

Protector of people

The Lokpal Act came into being as a result of the 2011 anti-graft protests by activist Anna Hazare. The protests targeted the increasing number of corruption cases that had surfaced during the United Progressive Alliance government and drew support from millions of people across the country. The word “Lokpal” is derived from the Sanskrit word “loka” meaning people and “pala” meaning protector or caretaker.

Hazare, the septuagenarian Gandhian from Maharashtra who became widely known through the anti-corruption movement, is finally seeing his struggle leading to the on-ground implementation of the anti-corruption law. “I welcome the decision of appointing the country’s first Lokpal. The people’s movement for it, going on for 48 years now, has finally won,” he told the media.

The term Lokpal and Lokayukta were coined by Dr. L M Singhvi who proposed an Indian model of ombudsman for the redressal of public grievances. The bill for a Lokpal was initially passed in the Lower House of Parliament in 1968 but was then allowed to lapse. Since then it lapsed several more times until 2011 when the anti-graft movement started.

The Act not only empowers the Lokpal to address corruption in public service but also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected. The Lokpal has the power of direction over Indian investigation agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for cases referred to them by the ombudsman. The Act also stipulates a six-month time frame to complete investigations.

The appointment of the Lokpal has been long overdue for India, which ranked 78th out of 175 countries for corruption in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International.

The committee

The four judicial members of the Lokpal committee are former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale, former Manipur High Court Chief Justice Abhilasha Kumari, former Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, and current Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi.

The non-judicial members are Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, retired IPS (Indian Police Service) officer and ex-DG of Sashastra Seema Bal Archana Ramasundaram, retired Internal Revenue Service (IRC) official Mahender Singh and retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer I P Gautam, who is currently the full time managing director of Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation Limited.

The Lokpal Act also called upon states to appoint a Lokayukta within a year of its coming to force. However, presently 13 states do not have a Lokayukta while others have temporary vacancies; seven states have never had a Lokayukta.

Five-year delay

The Act was expected to be implemented promptly by the Modi government that came to power in 2014 on an anti-corruption platform.

One of the main hurdles faced in the constitution of the Lokpal Committee was the formation of the selection committee. The Lokpal Act provides for a politically balanced selection committee. It comprises the prime minister, speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), the leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by the CJI, and a reputed jurist recommended by the former four.

After the 2014 general elections, no one was recognized as the leader of opposition (LoP). The Modi government introduced a 10-page amendment bill, which sought to solve the LoP issue. But instead, the amendment bill was accused of trying to fundamentally dilute the original law. The bill was referred to a parliamentary standing committee because of its controversial nature; there it became stuck and was never enacted.

Following this, anti-corruption activists raised the issue of the delay in Lokpal appointment in the Supreme Court. The court ruled in April 2017 that the Lokpal could be appointed by a selection committee without the LoP. Even after this, no Lokpal was appointed. It was after a contempt petition was filed in court that a search committee was formed in September last year to find eligible members for the Lokpal, and this was informed to the top court only in January this year.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to
    be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  3. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  4. Hi there, constantly i used to check webpage posts here
    early in the daylight, for the reason that i like
    to find out more and more.

  5. Hiya! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how
    to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird
    when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to
    find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.

    If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

  6. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check once more here frequently.
    I am relatively certain I will be told lots of new stuff proper here!
    Good luck for the following!

  7. Hi to every one, the contents present at this site are genuinely remarkable for people knowledge,
    well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  8. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a weblog website?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided shiny transparent

  9. I am not sure where you are getting your info, but good
    topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.

    Thanks for great information I was looking for
    this information for my mission.

  10. You are so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve read anything like that before.
    So wonderful to find somebody with unique thoughts on this topic.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with
    a little originality!

  11. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to paintings on. You’ve performed an impressive task and our entire group might be grateful to you.

  12. Can I simply just say what a relief to find somebody that truly knows what they are talking
    about online. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people really need to look at this
    and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular
    because you definitely possess the gift.

  13. naturally like your web-site however you need to take a look
    at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very
    bothersome to inform the truth then again I will certainly come
    again again.

  14. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.

    I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  15. With havin so much written content do you ever
    run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot
    of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to
    help prevent content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  16. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit of evaluation on this. And he the truth is bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If doable, as you develop into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with more details? It’s highly helpful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog publish!

  17. Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright transparent idea

  18. Definitely believe that that you said. Your
    favourite justification seemed to be at the net the simplest thing to take into accout of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst other folks consider issues
    that they just don’t understand about. You managed to hit the
    nail upon the highest and also defined out the
    whole thing without having side-effects , folks can take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  19. This is a really riveting website I be required to say.

    Too stale that there are not too many websites like This anymore. But I am happy that I originate it. Meet scribble literary works on it .

    You can take in my website here as luxuriously: xbody ems

  20. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any
    problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of
    hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  21. You can certainly see your expertise in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *