New Members take Oath in Lokpal of India

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Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi assumed charge as the newest judicial member of the Lokpal on March 27, 2024.

An Overview of the News

  • Lokpal Chairperson Justice AM Khanwilkar administered the oath to Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi.

  • Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Tirkey took oath as new members of the Lokpal at the Lokpal Office in New Delhi on March 27, 2024.

  • On March 26, the tenure of two judicial members, Justice PK Mohanty and Justice Abhilasha Kumari, ended.

  • Additionally, on the same day, the tenure of three other members – DK Jain, Archana Ramasundaram and Mahendra Singh – expired.

Introduction of New Members:

  • Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, former Chairman of the 22nd Law Commission of India and former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, plays the role of judicial member.

  • Pankaj Kumar, a 1986 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, previously served as the Chief Secretary of Gujarat.

  • Ajay Tirkey, a 1987 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, was the former Secretary of the Department of Land Resources, Government of India.

Historical Background of Lokpal:

  • The concept of an ombudsman originated in Sweden in 1809 and gained global prominence with its adoption by New Zealand and Norway in 1962.

  • In India, the idea of a Constitutional Lokpal was first proposed in Parliament in the early 1960s by Law Minister Ashok Kumar Sen.

  • The terms "Lokpal" and "Lokayukta" were introduced by jurist LM Singhvi, and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 was ultimately passed after advocacy by the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption Movement.

  • The purpose of this Act was to establish the Lokpal at the Center and Lokayuktas in the states to investigate allegations of corruption against public officials.

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