Ombudsman: Role in shaping a Fair System

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This article has been written by Mansi Singh, a 1st year student of Amity Law School Raipur Chhattisgarh

INTRODUCTION

In today’s world, everything is growing and expanding. This expansion is not only limited in the field of commerce, science. This growth and expansion can also be seen in the field of politics, administration. In today’s modern world, all democratic countries are manifested with large power and administrative authorities in their hands. Because of this increasing power and responsibilities, it is difficult for the people to have trust on administration. People will have a feeling of abuse or misuse of power by the officers resulting in corruption and maladministration. the traditional democratic system does not provide anybody or ant authority to curb this problem. Lack of mechanism may lower democratic values.

Thus, for modern problems require modern solution. The pursuit for an effective control mechanism over the administration can done through “OMBUDSMAN”.

WHO IS AN OMBUDSMAN?

It is a Scandinavian word which means an officer or commissioner. The literal meaning of ombudsman is “A commissioner who has the duty of investigating and reporting to parliament on citizens complaints against the Government”.  He has no legal power except the power to inquire. The main function of ombudsman is to investigate the complaints or allegations against the administration, and the main objective of this institution is to safeguard the citizens against the misuse of the power of the administration. Due to which the error committed by the administration or the executive officer are exposed. The investigation Is done by experts and learned persons who are the members of the concerned departments. The purpose is to control and protect citizens against injustice done by faulty administration.

HISTORY

The first institution of ombudsman came into existence in Scandinavia. Was established in Sweden in 1809. In Sweden an ombudsman can investigate a case on the basis of the complaint made or Suo moto. He can endorse action to parliament against the official and also against the minister against whom he received complaints.  Then next in 1919, Finland adopted ombudsman system. In 1954, Denmark adopted the institution of ombudsman. He has the power to supervise all the state administration.

The complaints can be directly made to ombudsman. Norway established Ombudsman system in 1963. In New Zealand, it was adopted in 1962 by the parliamentary commissioner (OMBUDSMAN)Act 1962. The same act was replaced by the ombudsman Act 1975. The act gives the authority or power to appoint two or more ombudsman and in case of more than one, then one of them is designated as the chief ombudsman for the allocation of work. In England, the ombudsman called parliamentary commissioner has been established by the parliamentary commissioner Act, 1967. According to the Act the complaints cannot be made directly to the ombudsman. It can be made to the ombudsman through a member of the house of commons.

In Australia, two-tier ombudsman system has been adopted by the ombudsman Act, 1976. There is ombudsman system at the central level as well as in state level. Each state has its won ombudsman.

NECESSITY IN INDIA: –

The administration system in India is has vast power due to socio-economic development. They have numerous powers to discharge which not only include administrative power but also include quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial function.

Because of this huge empire of administrative power there is probability for administrative excess and abuse of power granted. Therefore, close superintendence over the administration, and a mechanism for redressal of grievances become essential.

We have three tier for management of the power but have not been successful in controlling them. The courts, have expanded their supervision over the administration but still it is not sufficient.

In India ombudsman Is known as “LOKAYUKTA” and exercise the power to control and administer corruption.  The LokPal and Lokayukta act 2013 governs the working of ombudsmen in India in both central and state level. In state level it is “LOKAYUKTA” and in central level it is “LOKPAL”.

THE LOKPAL ACT 2013: –

  • In 2010 a draft was made by the united progressive alliance to create an ombudsman, to tackle with problems related to political corruption. The draft was circulated to different ministries for review. The draft include filing complaint against Prime Minister, Ministers and member of parliament.
  • But the proposal was rejected by stating that it was toothless and waste of time. Later in 2011 government issued a Gazette notification on the formation of a joint committee. It had 10 members headed by former President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. The bill was tabled in Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011, and was passed by voice voting.
  • In Dinesh Trivedi v. Union of India case: Supreme court recommended that till the constitution of institution like ombudsman, a high-level committee would be made by the President in consultation with Prime Minister of India and Speaker of India to tackle with the related problems.

LOKAYUKTA: –

  • Some states have adopted the ombudsman system (called Lokayukta). The institution of Lokayukta has been adopted in several states by enacting a statue. In some states Upalokayuktas have also been appointed.
  • Maharashtra was the first state to introduce Lokayukta through the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upalokayuktas Act in 1971. Presently there are no Lokayukta in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and west Bengal.
  • The Lokayukta under the state Acts is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired chief justice or judge of a high court. He is appointed by Governor as a result of consultation between the chief Minister, Chief justice of High court concerned and the leader of the opposition.
  • The term of appointment is for five or six years. The Lokayukta gets the same salary, perquisites and privileges which he was enjoying as a judge or chief justice before retirement.

Retired Supreme court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is appointed as the First LokPal of India by a committee consisting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogai and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on 23 march 2019.

CASE LAWS: –

  • Justice K.P. Mohapatra v. Ram Chandra Nayak

In this the Supreme Court while dealing with functions of Lokpal under section 7 of Orissa Lokpal and Lokayukya Act 1995 has held that the function of Lokayukta are of utmost importance in seeking that unpolluted administration of state is maintained and maladministration as define under section 2 (h) of the Act is exposed, so that appropriate action against such can be taken. The investigation which Lokpal is required to carry is quasi-judicial in nature.

  • P. Special Establishment v. State of Madhya Pradesh

The supreme court has ruled that the governor may act independently In the matter of grant of sanction of prosecution against the Chief Minister and or any Minister as in the matters there would be real danger of bias in the pinion rendered by the council of Minister and even in the case of grant of sanction to prosecute and ex-minister when decision of the council of ministers is shown to be irrational and based on the non-consideration of relevant facts.

 

CONCLUSION

The institution of ombudsman is an important institution to tackle and solve the problems related the administrative corruption or in other words maladministration, abusive use of power the public officials and many other problems. Corruption is the biggest problem and has been rooted in India very deeply, though this problem is faced by every country but in India it is the most unsolved problem for which an institute like this would be a great and helpful. Ombudsman plays an important role and in Indian context this role is played by the Lokpal.

  At present this institution is made only for the problem related to corruption. The legislation cannot tackle this problem alone a concentrated efforts are required from the society as a whole. The only solution to this problem In India is the establishment of Lokpal because it is the demand of time. The result would be more positive and the administration would become much more sensitive towards the public.

REFERENCE

https://www.ijsr.net/archive/v7i3/ART2018600.pdf

https://www.businessinsider.in/what-is-lokpal-chaired-by-panaki-chandra-ghose/articleshow/68491453.cms

https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/ombudsman-critical-appraisal/

https://blog.ipleaders.in/banking-ombudsman-scheme/

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