History of Lokayukta
History of corruption is as old as the history of human civilization itself. Numerous stories, being recorded in great epics of all the religions as well as histories of the world, are tell tale testimonies to the prevalence of corruption in all the societies since time immemorial. Therefore, mankind had to introduce different devises to tackle the menace of corruption. However, it was the middle part of the twentieth century when the hydra headed corruption started showing its enormously ugly face which even threatened to jeopardize the very existence of an orderly society. Therefore, most of the countries of the world put in place different legislations to eradicate from the societies the evil of bribery and corruption.
Our country too did not lag far behind in legislating laws which tried to address the evils of corruption and the first attempt in that regard took the shape in the form of Chapter-IX of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. But during the World War II, it was again realized that the Indian Penal Code was inadequate to meet the exigencies of the time and imperative need was felt to introduce a special legislation to deal with such problems and that is how, the Prevention of Corruption Act , 1947 was enacted.
In spite of enactment of the Act of 1947 and despite same being amended from time to time, those laws too were found inadequate to the task of effectively containing the corruption. Things have unfortunately come to such a pass that many well meaning but ambitious policies and schemes which were designed to ensure a quality live to each citizen of the country had gone haywire. In such a scenario, the country has desperately felt the need of a new law which must not only be all-encompassing in its contents but also be as simple as possible on procedural matters to encourage the people, genuinely interested in the welfare of the country, to approach the new forum looking for redress to the problems arising out of malpractices, committed by certain sections of the public functionaries.
In honouring such expectations of the people of the country, the Government of India has enacted Lok Pal Act, 2013. The various State Governments too have enacted the Lokayukta Act and the Arunachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act of 2014, (in short, the Act of 2014) is one of such legislations. It is noteworthy to mention here that the concept of the Lok Pal or for that matter, the Lokayukta has found its origin to the term “Ombudsman” who is a people’s prosecutor having authority to inquire/investigate into the grievances of the public about administrative wrongs and excesses.
The Arunachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act, 2014 was notified vide No. Law/LEGN-1/2014 which provides for establishment of body of Lokayukta for the State of Arunachal Pradesh to inquire/ investigate into allegations of corruption made against certain public functionaries as specified in section 14(1)(a) to (h) of the Act, 2014 and matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. Accordingly, the first Arunachal Pradesh Lokayukta under the Act has been constituted on 27.6.2019 with Justice (Retd) Prasanta Kumar Saikia as the Chairperson & Sri Yeshi Tsering, IAS (Retd) as Member.
As stated before, the Act of 2014 is unique for reasons more than one. One of such important attributes of the Act of 2014 is that anyone who wants to invoke this jurisdiction may approach the Lokayukta without the aid and assistance of any Advocate although the participation of the Advocates in the proceeding before the Lokayukta is not barred.
Equally importantly, on some other matters too, such as, matters relating to payment of fees by the persons who wants to invoke the Act of 2014, the requirements of law have been made simple and hassle free. Therefore, there cannot be any doubt that the Lokayukta Act, 2014 is an excellent piece of legislation with many ground-breaking features and has the potential to contain the evils of corruption from the society considerably, if not completely, since it tries to address the issue of corruption in a way not being done before by any of its earlier avatars.