A government is established for bettering the standard of living of the people it governs and thus, it is rightly inferred that the with the prosperity of the people  lies the security, strength and stability of the government and democracy.1

The government performs an administrative function and plays a key role in the socio-economic activities in the state. Ethical conduct is always a genuine concern. This is because such power has scope to be misused. 

Such misuse of power done with the purpose of either not carrying out the prescribed task or doing the task in a perverted way so as to gain a personal benefit out of the same while utilizing the powers of the government hollows the belief of the people in the government and leads to corruption.

Corruption however, is not just an individual’s conduct. While it may stem from the action of one the causes of corruption are deep rooted in the policy of a country, its bureaucracy, political developments and social history of a country. It must be noted that corruption is a collective effort between groups and thus, involves going beyond private gains towards other vested interests within the political system. This practice, thrives where there is weaker accountability and the person involved has a wider discretion of powers.2

Although corruption takes many forms and is ubiquitous in nature the acts of misconduct and maladministration, we are referring to are those of politicians, government ministers, civil servants and other elected members who abuse the powers of their office to decide on the laws, regulations or the allocation of resources in society. Such corruption is also referred as political corruption and in India about five players can be identified for running this vicious cycle of corruption: 

1.The ‘Neta’ or the corrupt politician;

2.The ‘Babu’ or the corrupt bureaucrat;

3.The ‘Lala’ or the corrupting businessman;

4.The ‘Jhola’ or the corrupt NGO; and

5.The ‘Dada’ or the criminal of the underworld3

Recognizing that the role of the government is for the welfare of the people it governs, corrupt actions diminish the satisfaction of the people which further leads to alienation. To prevent reaching the final outcome and for building a satisfied population the role of the government is defined with two objectives:

● To make the administration free from corruption and maladministration.

● To make it responsive to the needs of the people.


Surprisingly, there are already established means within the current system of governance to hold the government accountable such as the legislature, the judiciary, the administrative agencies themselves, other political parties and the press. However, each one of them have certain shortfalls on the matter.

For instance, in the house of parliament there exists a Committee of Public Undertaking which reports on the country’s financial and economics standing. Then there is the Committee on Government Assurances which that reports on the status of the assurances given by the Ministers and there also exists the Committee of Petitions that looks at the complaints and petitions raised by the netizens. The problem with this means however, is the lack of awareness on the part of the citizens as they may not have the knowledge about the existence of such an approach.4

An argument could be made for the legislature and the judiciary. However, in the case of the legislator are usually engaged in the matter of policy making to appease these citizens and hence, they do not have time to address the complaints of individual citizens. In the case of the judiciary the remedies available to the petitioner are (i) the quashing of the order (ii) prosecution of the offending servant and lastly, the writ jurisdiction of the High Court and the Supreme Court for quashing orders, or command duty to be done from the public servant. However, this power has been diluted due to the creation of tribunals and also by transferring certain powers to certain administrative officials therefore no remedy can be provided by the courts if such issue does not fall under appellate jurisdiction unless it is specially provided under relevant statute or if it falls under Article 136 of the constitution granting special leave to the Supreme Court. Another problem that arises is the cost and time taken for the entire proceeding to get over.

To solve this problem the Administration Reforms Commission which was headed by Mr. Morarji Desai in its interim report “Problems of redress of citizen grievances” recommended the establishment of two new institutions known as “Lokpal” and “Lokayukta” for India. The idea of creating an “Ombudsman” was borrowed from Sweden where this institution is given powers to enquire, investigate and prosecute on the basis of the complaints of the citizens the maladministration of the government departments. 

The Ombudsman was given certain powers under Swedish Law .Such as he was independent from the executive government and the parliament and he may apart from the complaints received take suo motu cognizance of matters and investigate on his own and while investigating he gets access to all the documents from the authorities concerned and he may examine the accused orally himself. The ombudsman was required to make an report on an yearly basis for the work done and is submitted to a committee of the Legislature who then makes a report to the parliament and if the work of the ombudsman is considered not upto the standard then the committee may even recommend his removal.


In India the establishment of an Ombudsman institution has happened through THE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS ACT, 2013 which was enacted in the year 2014. The act provides the following key details:


The Lokpal chairman and members can hold office for a period of 5 years or till they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. The members and the chairman of Lokpal are appointed by the president on the recommendation of a selection committee.

The selection committee consists of- 

● The Prime Minister of India (chairperson); 

● The Speaker of Lok Sabha;

● The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha;

● The Chief Justice of India or any Judge nominated by Chief Justice of India;

● One eminent jurist.5      

➣ Investigative powers

The Lokpal on the receipt of a complaint may order a-

1, Preliminary inquiry against any public servant by its Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to ascertain whether there exists a prima facie case for proceeding in the matter.

2. Investigation by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) when there exists a prima facie case jurisdiction

A Lokpal may inquire or start an investigation on the allegation of a complainant against the following people:

● Prime Minister, and the other Ministers, 

● Members of Parliament,

● Groups A, B, C and D officers,

● Officials of Central Government.

● Every person who is or has been in charge (director/ manager/ secretary) of a body or a society set up by the act of central government,

● Any society or body financed or controlled by the central government,

● Any person involved in act of abetting, bribe giving or bribe-taking. 6


The procedure to file a Lokpal Complaint is defined under the Lokpal Rules, 2020.7

A complaint must necessarily contain the following-

1. Details regarding the alleged commission of offence by the public servant.

2. The complaint to be made in any language included in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution.

3. A copy of the address proof of the complainant.

4. A registration or incorporation certificate if, in case the complaint is being made on behalf of an organization or if it is a board, body, corporation, company, limited liability partnership, authority, society, association of persons or trust.

5. A copy of an authorization certificate if, in case the complaint is being made on behalf of an organization or if it is a board, body, corporation, company, limited liability partnership, authority, society, association of persons or trust.

6. An Affidavit in the form as specified in the Part D of the Annexure.

7. Lastly, duly signed detailed statement making out the allegation.8









8. RAI, H., & SINGH, S. (1976). OMBUDSMAN IN INDIA: A NEED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE INTEGRITY AND RESPONSIVENESS. The Indian Journal of Political Science, 37(3), 43-63. Retrieved October 5, 2020, from


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