India’s First Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Lokpal Starts Work in Delhi

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, administering the oath of office of the Chairperson, Lokpal to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, at a swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 23, 2019. Photo: PIB
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, administering the oath of office of the Chairperson, Lokpal to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, at a swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 23, 2019. Photo: PIB

The immediate task before Lokpal will be to resolve the pending corruption cases in which top politicians and bureaucrats are facing serious corruption charges.

By Rakesh Raman

The first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman, of India has started its operations from a temporary office arranged in a five-star luxury hotel – The Ashok hotel – in Chanakyapuri of New Delhi.

According to reports, the chairperson, the eight-member team, and the support staff of Lokpal will work from the hotel premises.

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, had administered the oath of office to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as Chairperson, Lokpal, at a ceremony held on March 23, 2019 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Justice Ghose is the head of India’s first Lokpal office. The Judicial Members of the Lokpal are Justice Dilip B. Bhosale, Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Justice Abhilasha Kumari, and Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi.

Also, according to a government communique, members other than the Judicial Members are Dinesh Kumar Jain, Ms. Archana Ramasundaram, Mahender Singh, and Dr. Indrajeet Prasad Gautam.

While most anti-corruption institutions such as the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Supreme Court of India exist as toothless outfits that have repeatedly failed to handle serious corruption cases, the Lokpal office is expected to weed out massive corruption from India.

While rampant corruption is happening at every step in India, the untamed bureaucrats are blatantly defying laws that are supposed to prevent corruption. The latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Transparency International reveals that India is among the most corrupt countries of the world.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, asserts that India, with a score of just 41, is ranked 78 in the world. In other words, India is more corrupt than 77 other countries.

The immediate task before Lokpal will be to resolve the pending corruption cases in which top politicians and bureaucrats are facing serious corruption charges. The Rafale corruption case – in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the prime accused – is at the top of the list.

In fact, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to file a complaint against PM Modi in the Lokpal. An AAP leader Gopal Rai said recently that his party will file Rafale and Sahara-Birla corruption complaints against Modi with Lokpal.

Although it is not clear how Lokpal will deal with high-profile corruption cases, people hope that if Lokpal worked independently without getting influenced by the politicians, it will be able to reduce corruption in the country.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.

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