India gets its first ever Lokpal as a result of the Lokpal act that was passed six years back. Former Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose has been appointed as the chairperson of the first ever Lokpal of the country by a selection committee which consisted of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, an eminent jurist and a Lok Sabha Speaker. The committee also appointed four non-judicial members and four Judicial members as a part of the Lokpal. The appointments were approved by the President Ram Nath Kovind who said that the selected members will have the take on their responsibilities as soon as they take control of their respective offices.
What is Lokpal ?
The Lokpal is an established formed under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. This establishment was formed to investigate the allegations of corruption against the current and former Prime Ministers, Group A officials of the Central Government and also key figures of a non-governmental organization. It consists of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, with an equal division of judicial and non-judicial members. The Lokpal has the right to investigate any public servant who receives more than 10 lakh rupees per year from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Their jurisdiction, however, does not include the armed forces. It has the power over any investigation agency including the CBI.
The chairperson or members who have been appointed must not have any political ties whatsoever and should not have a membership in parliament or any office of profit. They can hold the office up to a duration of five years and can be re-appointed. The procedure of impeachment is the only way to remove them from office.
Who is PC Ghose ?
Pinaki Chandra Ghose is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India who has a stellar record in the field of law. Before becoming a judge at the SC, Ghose was the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and has also served as a justice of Calcutta High Court. After retiring as SC Judge, Ghose became a member of the National Human Rights Commission.
Ghose was with the former CJI JS Khekar-led bench which had sentenced Calcutta HC Judge CS Karnan to a six-month jail term for contempt of court. He is also remembered for his verdict which barred usage of politicians in government advertisements. Apart from this, he was also responsible for the prosecution of former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha and her aide VK Sasikala; he had restored the criminal conspiracy charges against senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.
Pinaki will be responsible of looking into allegations off abuse of office, corruption against public servants which also includes the former members of the government.