Sharp fall in complaints submitted to Lokpal: Government informs House

New Delhi: There is a sharp fall in complaints submitted to the Lokpal, with only 12 complaints received by the anti-corruption ombudsman so far this year as against 110 in 2020-21 and 1,427 in 2019-20, the ministry of personnel told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh, while replying to supplementary queries to a starred question, said the considerable reduction in complaints liable to be submitted to Lokpal was “a good reflection not only on the part of the Lokpal but also on the Modi government because there is hardly anything to complain about”.

On the current vacancies in the Lokpal, Singh said, “The (appointment) process is going on. We have already constituted the Lokpal Committee.” In response to a supplementary as to when the two vacancies of judicial members in the Lokpal shall be filled, the minister informed that the chairman and the other nine members had been duly appointed but one judicial member died due to Covid while the other tendered his resignation. He said the appointment of both judicial members shall be done in due course.

In a written reply to the starred question on setting up of the inquiry wing and prosecution wing of Lokpal, Singh said the institution of Lokpal has been sanctioned requisite staff including that provided under sections 11 and 12 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. While Section 11 relates to the inquiry wing, Section 12 deals with the prosecution wing.

Crediting the Modi government for setting up the Lokpal as part of its “zero-tolerance” against corruption, Singh said that Lokpal was first proposed way back in 1963 but the appointment came under the Modi government, nearly 60 years later.

Singh recalled that the Lokpal Bill was brought to the Parliament exactly 10 times in nearly six decades – in 1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, and twice in 2011 – but it was never carried forward to its logical conclusion, possibly because of the lack of political will or the lack of commitment.

The minister said that while UPA-2 hurriedly passed the Lokpal Bill in January 2014 under public pressure, several inadequacies were left in the Bill in haste, which came in the way of its proper implementation. It was on the intervention of Prime Minister Modi, he said, that the Bill was brought to the Parliament once again in its amended and complete form, following which the appointment of the Lokpal and other members were duly done.

(With agencies inputs)