Institution of Ombudsman-A Legislative and Judicial Outlook

By Sumit and Oshoneesh Waghmare, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Telangana 

Editor’s note: 

An ombudsman is a public advocate who is usually appointed by the government, with a significant degree of independence, and is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights. The duties of an ombudsman are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations or mediation. For a nation to prosper, the administrative wing of the nation has to function properly and efficiently and it has to be ensured that there is no corruption in the sphere of administration. Corruption is the biggest hindrance in the development of a nation. The ombudsman plays a crucial role in tackling the problem of corruption. In the Indian context this role is played by the Lokpal. This paper traces the evolution of the institution of “ombudsman” and analyses his role in the Indian setup.


For a nation to prosper and develop holistically it needs to have an organised system of administration; a system which seeks to redress the problems of the people and most importantly, is free from corruption. Maladministration leads to various obstacles in the progress of a nation and is like a termite which slowly erodes the very foundation of a nation and prevents the very structure of administration from accomplishing its task. The root cause of this problem of maladministration is corruption. Administrative law is an ever growing subject which cannot be confined to one single terrain. It does not confine itself to any one branch of law and is eventually bound to be present at every instance where there is an abuse of power. For an administrative system to be good it must not abstain from being answerable to the people. But, as has been said, absolute power corrupts absolutely which implies that if there is power then its abuse is bound to be there. With the administrative agencies pervading every aspect of our lives, the chances of administrative law interfering with the rights of a person have increased manifold. It eventually leads to the need for an appropriate mechanism which can secure the rights of a person from being infringed by administrative wrongs. For this reason, the institution of “ombudsman” came to the rescue and proved to be of immense importance and has been and is still being adopted by various nations to protect the rights of the individual against the administrative practices of the State and also to avoid inefficiency in the administrative set up of the State.

Historical Background

The year was 1713 and in this year the king of Sweden, King Charles XII was in a situation of war with Russia and during this point of time the King in order to keep a check on the working of the public servants came up with an office named “Hogsta Ombudsmannen”. However in the year 1719 the name of this office was changed to “Justitiekansler” which meant Chancellor of Justice.[i]

Officially the institution of ombudsman was inaugurated in the year 1809 in Sweden. This institution did not become very famous till it was adopted by Denmark. The administrative policies of Sweden were followed by Finland also, but it is very surprising that it was after a huge gap of 110 years that Finland finally adopted the institution of ombudsman. Denmark and Finland had their own problem in adopting the institution of ombudsman. Since Finland was under the control of Russia till the year 1919 it did not adopt this institution and for Denmark the problem was actually the language barrier which prevented it from adopting it.  However, there was a huge impact in a positive sense on the institution of ombudsman when it was adopted by New Zealand and Norway in the year 1962 and it proved to be of great significance in spreading of the concept of ombudsman. The reason why this system of ombudsman was so easily adopted by various countries having different political and historical backgrounds was the degree of flexibility of the institution of ombudsman and hence its easy adaptation to this concept was readily adopted by various nations, the Scandinavian countries being the best suited example of it.

The institution of ombudsman is not only confined to the developing nations, it equally extends itself to the various developed nations as well. In the year 1967 the Great Britain became the first large nation in the democratic world to adopt the ombudsman institution and it was largely based on the recommendations of the Whyaat Report of 1961.[ii] The developing countries also began to look into the concept of ombudsman and it was because of this that Guyana became the first developing nation to have adopted the concept of ombudsman and it was adopted in the year 1966 and subsequently it was further adopted by Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia and India as well. All these systems of ombudsman are in essence based on the same structure and idea but deviate only in very fine aspects relating to the changes in the different political and historical systems of the respective nations, whether already developed or in the phase of development.

The institution of Ombudsman in the Indian scenario     

In the year 1966 a commission was set up named the Administrative Reforms Commission and this commission recommended that an institution based on the lines of an ombudsman is necessary in India and in pursuance of this a bill was forwarded in the Lok Sabha in the year 1968 which was eventually passed in the year 1969. Since the governments have yielded so much power that can lead to its abuse, it eventually leads to the advent of the ombudsman in India.

Once India attained freedom from the shackles of the British Empire, India had a humungous task to deal with, coping with problems such as the Second World War, economic crises and famines to name a few. And in order to tackle all these problems, India required a competent administrative set up and huge amount of power was given to the administrators and therefore a proper mechanism was required to protect the individuals from the faults of the administration. As was the case in Denmark, India also had to suffer a lot of administrative crises after the Second World War and there were numerous cases of maladministration and corruption surfacing during this period and such problems had to be tackled immediately.

The origin of Lokpal and Lokayukta in India

The issue concerning the ombudsman was for the first time raised in the Parliament in the year 1963. The idea of ombudsman came to India in the year 1959. Mr C.D. Deshmukh was the Chairman of the University Grants Commission and he made possible the establishment of a tribunal which would be completely impartial and would look into the matters and make proper reports on the complaints filed by the public in general. From this incident there have been continuous demands for the establishment of such a mechanism like an ombudsman in all the strata of the Indian society.[iii]

A crucial change with reference to the Lokpal Bill came in the year 2011 and it was in this year that the Lokpal Bill was passed and it eventually led to the establishment of the institution of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at State level. Another important feature of this Bill is that the form of the current Bill has been arrived at after it went through numerous recurring rounds of consultations and discussions with all the interested parties which also included the society at large. And it was only after such numerous deliberations and proper consultations that this Act eventually came into force on the 1st January 2014.[iv]

A Critical Analysis of the Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act[v]

Section 4(1) of the Act reads as, “the Chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be appointed by the President and this appointment shall be compulsorily made in accordance with the recommendations which are based on the report given by the Selection Committee.” This Selection Committee which will be giving its recommendation will be comprised of the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of People, Leader of the Opposition in the House of People, the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Chief Justice and one eminent Jurist.

This specific provision has been heavily criticised. A Chief Justice, because of his credentials should never be subordinate to the Prime Minister and with respect to the appointment of the Jurist it is very crucial that it be done with extreme caution as it will definitely be a very important factor to prevent the Lokpal from becoming a mere toothless law; rather, it would become a rubber stamp of the party which is in power at that point of time. Section 4 (2) clearly states, that mere vacancy in the Selection Committee will not annul the appointment of a Chairperson or a member of Lokpal. It becomes very difficult to ascertain the real intent behind this provision. It is almost impossible to have a situation when the post of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the Chief Justice of India are vacant. Section 5 makes it very clear that the selection process must compulsorily start before a minimum of three months from expiry of the term of the Chairperson or a Member of the Lokpal in order to make sure that there is no vacancy in the Selection Committee. It is the vacancy of the eminent jurist which has a proper legal backing. The appointment or vacancy of the eminent jurist is actually an important tool which the government possesses and it is with the help of this tool that the government is able to take control of the majority of the members who are in the executive, specifically in matters of a dissenting judicial member, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Prime Minister being at one end. Such sections can be used to mould the circumstances accordingly and hence it is very ambiguous and should have been avoided.

Section 14 (1) (a) deals with the procedural aspect of the Act and it states that if there is any allegation of corruption which is made in the complaint filed by the aggrieved party with respect to any person who is or has been a Prime Minister, it can be taken into consideration and an enquiry can be made into by the Lokpal. However there is an exception to this provision and it excludes certain matters such as public order, international relations, atomic energy and space from the purview of this provision and given the important character of such matters it is fair to exclude these matters.[vi]

It is very astonishing to see that the procedure which is actually prescribed in the case of preliminary inquiry and the procedure which entails the issue of investigation provided under Section 20 are in complete contrast with one another and it will not be wrong to say that they are self-contradictory. Once there is a complaint which is received by the Lokpal, it has the authority to order a preliminary enquiry to look into the matter to see whether there exists any prima facie case or not or it may order the investigation to be carried on by any other agency, but it can only be done if it has been established that there is a prima facie case.

However the issue is that the proviso given in this section clearly states that before giving orders for any kind of investigation stated under Clause (b), it is the duty of the Lokpal to call for an explanation which is to be given by the public servant which is done with a view to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case or not. Therefore, it is compulsory for the Lokpal to seek the explanation of the public servant before ordering any sort of investigation.

The provision also states that “the seeking of explanation from the public servant before an investigation shall not interfere, with the search and seizure, if any, required to be undertaken by any agency” which is totally toothless as it is very clear from the section that unless the Lokpal himself has authorised the investigation by a particular agency, it is not legal for the agency to go for search and seizure under the law, and unless a proper explanation has been sought by  the Lokpal from the public servant the Lokpal is not allowed to proceed with investigation and hence the Lokpal is bound to seek an explanation from the public servant. As it is clear from the section, there is a clear contrast between these provisions and it is very difficult to reconcile the two sections.

In the month of December 2013, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2014 was finally passed by the Parliament. The main objective of this particular act was to put a strict control on the acts of corruption with the establishment of independent machinery in the Centre, which would be called Lokpal and it will be receiving complaints in connection with the corrupt activities by public servants and it will be the duty of the Lokpal only to ensure that proper investigation is conducted into the matters and also in addition to this, wherever it is needed there must be effective prosecution.

Special courts have been established to ensure that all these processes are completed within a stipulated time period. It has also been made compulsory by the Act for every State to pass a law within a given time period of one year to establish a body of Lokayukta at the level of the State. However there is one problem with this provision and that problem is that the specific details in relation to the Act have been left completely on the State.[vii] To tackle the problems of corruption at the Central level this Act provides for the establishment of a body called the Lokpal which would be responsible to look into the matters of investigation, prosecution against the public officials.

The Act empowers the Lokpal to receive complaints regarding corruption against the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), and officers of the central government, and against functionaries of any entity that is completely or partially financed by the government with an annual income which is beyond a specified limit.[viii]

It is clearly mentioned in the Act that on receiving a complaint against any public official, officers from groups A, B, C or D being the sole exceptions, the Lokpal will be mandatorily bound to order an inquiry concerning the matter. The Lokpal has an option with respect to the execution of the enquiry, as in, whether the enquiry should be done by the Lokpal’s own enquiry system and at the same time the Lokpal also has the option of directing the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other agency to do the inquiry. This inquiry is generally to be finished within sixty to ninety days and then a proper report needs to be submitted to the Lokpal.

When there are complaints which are specifically targeted towards the public servants of group A,B,C or D, then under such circumstances the matter will be referred to the Central Vigilance Commission for an initial inquiry and once the inquiry is done the report is to be submitted to the Lokpal if the matter is in reference to public servants belonging to group A and B but the CVC is authorised to continue with the CVC Act, 2003 if the matter is in connection with the public servants who are in group C and D.[ix]

Once the report which is submitted after the inquiry is received by the Lokpal, the Lokpal should make sure that the public servant is given a fair opportunity to present his side of the case and he must be given the right to be heard and after hearing the public servant if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that on the face of it there is a case then the Lokpal can give orders for the investigation to be carried out by the CBI or can also order for some departmental inquiry into the same matter.

Usually the time period for the investigation to be finished is six months but under certain circumstances this time period of six months can be extended to one year also and once the investigation is complete, a proper report is to be submitted to the appropriate court and also a copy of the same report must be sent to the lokpal.

Selection Procedure for the members of Lokpal

The Lokpal consists of one Chairperson and eight members and these members are selected through the screening of two committees and these committees are, Selection Committee and Search Committee.

The Selection Committee has the core function of selection and final say in the matter and it comprises of five prestigious office-bearers as members, viz, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the CJI, and one eminent jurist, as recommended by the other four members of the committee. Before selection by the committee above, another group of seven members is constituted, called the Search Committee. An essential function of this committee is to shortlist a panel of eligible candidates for the post of Chairperson and members of the Lokpal, which is then put before the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee then decides upon this proposed panel by the Search Committee. A peculiar feature of the Search Committee and that of the Lokpal is that, half of the total members of each should be persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and women.

Superintendence of the functioning of the CBI

The Lokpal & Lokayukta Act provides that the Lokpal will have powers of “superintendence” over the CBI besides envisaging that the Lokpal has powers to enquire or investigate complaints under its jurisdiction, against any committee. But the real picture showcases otiose nature of such provisions of the said Act due to lack of instrumentalities that would affect the change proposed.

To some extent, the need for functional independence of the CBI has been catered to by a change brought forth in the selection process of its Director, by this Act. Earlier, the CBI Director was directly appointed by a committee, usually dominated by the ideologies and emissaries of the ruling government; but now he is to be selected through a four member Selection Committee comprising of the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the CJI. Also, the Act provides that the transfer of CBI officers investigating cases referred by the Lokpal can be done only with the approval of the Lokpal.

However, such procedure only provides for a ten-per centre supervision of Lokpal over the CBI; as the Central Government still controls the budget, appointment of other officials of the CBI, and the receiving authority for the annual confidential reports of senior CBI officials, making them vulnerable to governmental pressure.

A plethora of suggestions were made by civil society groups and awareness NGOs to enhance the independence of CBI and efficiency of its investigation, all of which were discarded by the government to be included in the Lokpal & Lokayukta Act. Proposals like budget to be chargeable to the consolidated fund of India, appointment and removal of senior CBI officers to require Lokpal approval and make Lokpal the receiving authority of for annual confidential reports of officers working on cases referred by the Lokpal; so as to provide complete financial as well as administrative supervision of Lokpal over the CBI.


Power and Jurisdiction of the Lokayuktas in States

The controversial backlog of the Act involving State legislatures was the one that led to the rejection of a previous Bill which in turn brought a revised Bill providing an option of Article 252 to be invoked and option was given to the States to have their own Lokpal Act.

The present Act mandates the setting up of Lokayuktas in each state within one year along with the provision that State legislatures shall have the authority to determine the powers and jurisdiction of the Lokayukta. This makes the situation crystal clear and the gives rise to the apprehension of inefficient Lokayuktas with restricted jurisdiction in the fetters of the state government’s stewards adversely affecting the poor and marginalized through raging corruption.

Laches or restrictions                                        

Another limitation of the Act is envisaged in the following words that the Lokpal “shall not inquire or investigate into any complaint, if the complaint is made after the expiry of a period of seven years from the date on which the offence mentioned in such complaint is alleged to have been committed.”

Though unreasonable delay by the plaintiff in instituting a suit or filing a complaint is a ground for dismissal but the gist of the matter is that cases concerned with lokpal are usually high-profile scams of the government bringing under its garb the highest office bearers which are discovered with proper evidence only after one regime ends (five years or even seven years) and a proposal is made that in the presence of concrete and corroborative evidence, complaints should be entertained and worked upon by the Lokpal to ensure justice and so that the purpose of the Act is served.

Supreme Court on Lokpal and Lokayukta

Supreme Court has pronounced several decisions regarding the institution of Ombudsman. This heading analyses various case laws related to the institution.

  1. Common Cause, A Registered Society v. Union of India & Ors.[x]

This case is a review petition to provide relief to pass an appropriate writ, order or orders to direct the Parliament to draft a Bill for the enactment of a legislation to establish the institution of Lokpal, or an alternative system similar to Ombudsman for checking and controlling corruption at public, political and bureaucratic levels. The Solicitor General brings to notice that efforts were made with no consensus on the proposed bill. It is a matter which concerns the Parliament and the Court cannot do anything substantial in this matter.

  1. Justice K. P. Mohapatra v. Sri Ram Chandra Nayak and Ors.[xi]

Retired Judge of the High Court of Orissa was appointed as the Lokpal by the Governor of Orissa by issuing a notification. By a notification dated 26.11.1996, the Government of Orissa appointed the appellant as the Lokpal with effect from the date on which he was sworn in as such. After hearing the parties, the PIL was allowed and it was held that there was no effective consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and that the consultation under Section 3(1) of the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayukta Act was effective on reference to the Governor, Chief Justice and Leader of the Opposition. The Court observed that there was no consultation with the Chief Justice with regard to the name suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. Therefore, appointment of the appellant as the Lokpal was void. That order is under challenge in this appeal.

In the context of the aforesaid functions of the Lokpal and the required qualification of a person who is to be appointed to hold such office, the word ‘consultation’ used in Section 3 is required to be interpreted. As

(i) Consultation is a process which requires the meeting of minds between the parties involved in the process of consultation on the material facts and points involved to evolve a correct or at least satisfactory solution. There should be meeting of minds between the proposer and the persons to be consulted on the subject of consultation. There must be definite facts which constitute the foundation and source for final decision. The object of the consultation is to render consultation meaningful to serve the intended purpose. Prior consultation in that behalf is mandatory.

(ii) When the offending action affects fundamental rights or is to effectuate built-in insulation as fair procedure, consultation is mandatory and non-consultation renders the action ultra vires or invalid or void.

(iii) When the opinion or advice binds the proposer, consultation is mandatory and its infraction renders the action or order illegal.

(iv) When the opinion or advice or view does not bind the person or the authority, any action or decision taken contrary to the advice is not illegal, nor does it become void.

(v) When the object of consultation is only to apprise of the proposed action and when the opinion or advice is not binding on the authorities or person and is not bound to be accepted, the prior consultation is only directory. The authority proposing to take action should make known the general scheme or outlines of the actions proposed to be taken be put to the notice of the authority or the persons to be consulted; have the views or objections, take them into consideration, and thereafter, the authority or person would be entitled or has/have authority to pass appropriate orders or take decisions thereon. In such circumstances it amounts to an action ‘after consultation’.”

Applying the principle enunciated in the aforesaid judgment, it is apparent that the consultation with the Chief Justice is mandatory and his opinion would have primacy. The nature of the consultation with the Leader of the Opposition is to apprise him about the proposal of selecting a person for the post and also to take his views on the said proposal. However, the opinion rendered by the Leader of the Opposition is not binding on the State Government and the Leader of the Opposition would have no power to recommend someone else for the said post.

  1. Sri Justice S. K. Ray v. State of Orissa and Ors.[xii]

The appellant was the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court and retired on 5.11.1980. He was appointed as the Lokpal on 17.8.1989 under Section 3 of the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1970. Prior to his appointment as Lokpal, he had also functioned as the Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into certain disputes involving the States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and some of their Ministers. Pursuant to the repeal of the Act by the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayuktas [Repeal] Ordinance, 1992, which came into effect on 16.7.1992, he ceased to hold the office of Lokpal. The said Ordinance was subsequently replaced by the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayuktas [Repeal] Act, 1995. The appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court contending that he had incurred certain liabilities in ceasing to hold the office being ineligible for further employment under the State Government or for any other employment under an office in any such local authority, corporation, Government Company or society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which is subject to the control of the State Government and which is notified by the Government in that behalf. He claimed-

  • Compensation for loss of salary for the remainder period of his tenure as Lokpal.
  • Pension with effect from 16.7.1992 as per Rule 7 of the Orissa Lokpal (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1984.
  • Refund of the amount of pension deducted from his salary during the period 17.8.1989 to 16.7.1992, and
  • Payment of encashment value of unutilised leave which accrued to him during the period 17.8.1989 to 16.7.1992.

Of the four claims made by the appellant, the High Court held that the appellant was not entitled to compensation for loss of salary for the remainder period of his tenure as Lokpal as well as for payment of pension with effect from 16.7.1992. However, insofar as the encashment of value of unutilised leave and the deduction of amount of pension during the period from 17.8.1989 to 16.7.1992 were concerned, appropriate reliefs were given.

  1. In Re: Under Article 317 (1) of the Constitution of India for enquiry and report on the allegations against Dr. H.B. Mirdha, Chairman, Orissa Public Service Commission[xiii]

Reference was made by the State Government to the Lokpal, Orissa. The Lokpal in his order observed that in view of the provisions of Section 21 of the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 1985, the Lokpal was not authorised to investigate into the actions taken by the Chairman or a member of the OPSC.

  1. State of Gujarat and Anr. v. Hon’ble Mr. Justice R .A. Mehta (Retd.) and Ors.[xiv]

Writ Petition was referred by two Judges challenging appointment of Respondent No. 1 to the post of Lokayukta. Contention rose whether appointment of Respondent No. 1 could be held to be illegal. In the State of Gujarat, post of Lokayukta had been lying vacant for a period of more than nine years. The Governor had misjudged her role and had insisted that under Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, Council of Ministers had no role to play in the appointment of Lokayukta and that she could so fill it up in consultation with the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court and the Leader of Opposition. Appointment of Lokayukta could be made by Governor as Head of State only with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and not independently as a statutory authority.

The recommendation of the Chief Justice suggested only one name in place of the panel of names and was in consonance with the law laid down by the Court and there was no cogent reason to not give effect to said recommendation. Objections raised by the Chief Minister have been duly considered by the Chief Justice as well as by the Court and none of them were tenable to the extent that any of them might be labelled as cogent reasons for the purpose of discarding the recommendation of a name for appointment to the post of Lokayukta. Thus, the process of consultation stood complete and in such a situation, the appointment could not be held to be illegal and the appointment of the candidate was held to be legal,  so that the process of consultation for appointment was completed.

  1. Justice Chandrashekaraiah (Retd.) v. Janekere C. Krishna and Ors. etc.[xv]

The matter in dispute was the appointment of Upa-Lokayukta. In the matter of appointment of Upa-Lokayukta the advice tendered by the Chief Minister will have primacy and not that of the Chief Justice of High Court and others. Under Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 consultation is mandatory, Section 3(2)(a) and (b) when read literally and contextually admits no doubt that the Governor of the State can appoint Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta only on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister and that the Chief Justice of the High Court is only one of the consultees and his views have no primacy. The Chief Minister is legally obliged to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court and other four consultees, which is a mandatory requirement. The various directions given by the High Court, is beyond the scope of the Act and the High Court has indulged in a legislative exercise which is impermissible in law. The Chief Minister committed an error in not consulting the Chief Justice of the High Court in the matter of the appointment of Upa-Lokayukta. The appointment of Upa-Lokayukta is in violation of Section 3(2)(b) of the Act since the Chief Justice of the High Court was not consulted nor was the name deliberated upon before advising or appointing him as a Upa-Lokayukta, consequently, the appointment as Upa-Lokayukta cannot stand in the eye of law and he has no authority to continue to hold the post of Upa-Lokayukta of the State. Appointment was declared invalid as the authority did not follow mandatory provisions.

Countries with the Presence of the Ombudsman

The International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), established in 1978, is the only global organisation for the cooperation of more than 150 Ombudsman institutions. In addition to its periodic conferences the IOI fosters regional and international information exchange. The International Ombudsman Institute is organised in regional chapters in Africa, Asia, Australasia & Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, and North America. The organisation has three working languages, English, French and Spanish.[xvi]

When we look throughout the world institution of ombudsman exist in countries which are thrown light on few developed and developing countries where the institution is in existence and is flourishing.[xvii]

  • Sweden: It comprises 4 member offices comprising 1 chief and 3 members appointed by the Swedish Parliament for 4 years. It can take suo motu action with jurisdiction extending to all state authorities and institutions. It has no jurisdiction over any member of Parliament. Recommendations made by it are not binding.
  • New Zealand: This is a post appointed by the Governor-General. He oversees the action of the Centre and local government agencies and ministries can initiate action based on oral complaint. He has the power to investigate independently and submit his recommendation to the concerned department head. If no action is taken, the complaint is forwarded to the House of Representatives.
  • UK: Here the ombudsman is called Parliamentary Commissioner. It is a position appointed by the Prime Minister for a period of seven years. No suo motu action can be initiated. Action can only be taken on complaints received on approval by a member of parliament with jurisdiction extending to ministers and bureaucrats. There is no specific eligibility for selection.
  • Finland: He is a legal expert appointed for a term of 4 years. Legality of the government, ministries, and the President along with courts and employees of public bodies are looked into by the Ombudsman. It has the power to prosecute, reprimand, guide and rebuke officials. Legislative and private company’s affairs are outside its jurisdiction.
  • Hong Kong: Sends recommendation to the head of the department concerned and then to legislative council in case of non- redressed. Opinion prevalent in the public that more powers should be enshrined on the ombudsman.
  • Indonesia: It is elected by the House of Representative based on nominations by the President of the Country. Its jurisdiction includes both public offices and private sector involved in administering public service.


In order to make sure that a nation should prosper it becomes very important that the administrative wing of the nation is functioning properly and efficiently and at the same time one key point to be noted is that there is no corruption in the administrative department of the nation. Corruption is actually the deep rooted cause which is the biggest obstacle in the development of a nation. In order to tackle this problem of corruption the institution of ombudsman plays the most important role and in the Indian context this role is played by the Lokpal.

The other point to be noted is that when the concept of ombudsman emerged at that point of time it was made to tackle the problem of maladministration and inefficiency with corruption just being a part of it but as time passed the problem of corruption grew to such an extent that now the institution of ombudsman is considered to be made only for the problem of corruption. This problem of corruption cannot be tackled only through legislation; a concentrated and unified effort is required from the society as a whole. For corruption to spread its root so deep into the system of any nation the citizens of the nation are equally to be blamed because it is not only the administrative officials who are at the wrong side.

[i]Lester B. Orfield , THE SCANDINAVIAN OMBUDSMAN ,Vol. 19, No. 1, 7 Administrative Law Review ,7,7 (1966), available at, last seen on 23/05/2015.

[ii]Hing Yong Cheng ,The Emergence and Spread of the Ombudsman Institution, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,Vol. 377, (1968), 20,20-30, available at, last seen on 23/05/2015.

[iii]Lokpal bill to cover PM, Press Trust of India, IBNLive,  21/11/2010, available at last seen on 23/05/2015.

[iv]Jason Burke, Lokpal bill to create Indian anti-corruption watchdog approved, The Guardian, 18/12/2013, last seen on 23/05/2015.

[v]Amrita Johri, Anjali Bhardwaj, and Shekhar Singh,The Lokpal Act of 2014,An Assessment ,49( 5), Economic and Political Weekly (2014) ,available at last seen on 23/05/2015.

[vi]All about the Lok Pal Bill, PRS Legislative Research, available at last seen on 23/05/2015.

[vii] Ram Jethmalani, Many black holes in Lokpal Act, The Sunday Guardian,  last seen on 23/05/2015.

[viii]Nadim Asrar, Lokpal Bill: key provisions of the amended legislation, 18/12/2013, available at,last seen on 23/05/2015.

[ix] Salient features of Lokpal bill, Published by DNA, 18/05/2013,,last seen on 23/05/2015.

[x]Common Cause, A Registered Society v. Union of India & Ors., (1999) 6 SCC 667

[xi]Justice K. P. Mohapatra v. Sri Ram Chandra Nayak and Ors ., (2002) 8 SCC 1

[xii] Sri Justice S. K. Ray v. State of Orissa and Ors, 2003 (1) SCR 434

[xiii] In Re: Under Article 317 (1) of the Constitution of India for enquiry and report on the allegations against Dr. H. B.Mirdha , Chairman , Orissa Public Service Commission, 2009 (I) OLR (SC) 995

[xiv] State of Gujarat and Anr. v. Hon’ble  Mr. Justice R .A. Mehta (Retd.) and Ors.,AIR 2013 SC 693

[xv] Mr. Justice Chandrashekaraiah (Retd.) v. Janekere C. Krishna and Ors. etc., AIR 2013 SC 726

[xvi]About the IOI, International Ombudsman Institute, available at last seen on 23/05/2015.

[xvii]Udit Misra, World Watch, I’ll be watching you, Forbes India, available at last seen on 16/04/2015.

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