Lokayukta: Setup and Functions

Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organised at the state-level.The Administrative Reforms Commission(ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on "Problems of Redressal of Citizen's Grievances' in 1966. In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as 'Lokpal' and 'Lokayukta' for the redressal of citizens' grievances.

Appointments of Lokayukta 
  • Lokayukta shall be appointed by the Governor of the state in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

Qualifications of Lokayukta
  • Chief Justice (retired) of any high court in India, or a judge of a high court for seven years. Lokayukta shall not be a member of Parliament or a member of the Legislative of any state or Union Territory and shall not hold any other office of profit and shall not be connected with any political party or be carrying on any business or practice any profession. The office has a term of five years.

  • The LokAyukta helps people bring corruption to the fore mainly amongst the politicians and officers in the government service. It is to be noted that the LokAyukta conducts raids. But surprisingly, it does not have binding powers to punish anyone but only recommend punishment. Reduction in rank, compulsory retirement, removal from office, stoppage of annual increments and censure are some of the frequently seen recommendations given by the Lokayukta to the government. The state can either accept the recommendations or modify them. The public servant concerned can challenge the decision in the state high courts or specialised tribunals.

  • Written complaints are required from complainants by the Lokayukta office for investigation. If the complaint takes the form of an allegation, the office insists on the filing of an affidavit. Most of the complainants received turned out to be “anonymous, pseudonymous, and trivial in nature or not made on prescribed forms or were submitted without affidavits. “Many did not pursue their allegations when asked to file them in an affidavit format. Lokayuktas can either investigate the complaints using their suo motu powers under the state Act concerned or forward them to the heads of the departments under the scanner for action or act as a mediator between the citizen and the government servant against whom the complaint is made.

Major shortcomings of Lokayukthas:
  • Its a one man army with limited resources and powers, and the success of the entire mechanism depends solely on the personal qualities of the individual Lokayukta
  • Non uniformity of Acts in states
  • Many areas of administration are outside the jurisdiction of Lokayukta
  • Some states have prescribed fee for lodging complaints, for example Madhya Pradesh is one of them.
  • Non-cooperative attitude of authorities and lack of independent investigating authority
  • Orissa was the first state to pass the Ombudsman legislation in 1970 and also the first to abolish it in 1993.

Future of Lokayukta
  • An amendment to the Constitution has been proposed to implement the Lokayukta uniformly across Indian States. The proposed changes will make the institution of Lokayukta uniform across the country as a three-member body, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or high court chief justice and comprise the state vigilance commissioner and a jurist or an eminent administrator as other members.
Latest News on Lokayukta
  • 28-July-2011 : Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde submits illegal mining report