Lokpal

Powers of Lokpal in India

25. Supervisory powers of Lokpal. – (1) The Lokpal shall, notwithstanding anything contained in section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) and section 8 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003), have the powers of superintendence over, and to give direction to the Delhi Special Police Establishment in respect of the matters referred by the Lokpal for preliminary inquiry or investigation to the Delhi Special Police Establishment under this Act :
Provided that while exercising powers of superintendence or giving direction under this sub-section, the Lokpal shall not exercise powers in such a manner so as to require any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to whom the investigation has been given, to investigate and dispose of any case in a particular manner.

(2) The Central Vigilance Commission shall send a statement, at such interval as the Lokpal may direct, to the Lokpal in respect of action taken on complaints referred to it under the second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 20 and on receipt of such statement, the Lokpal may issue guidelines for effective and expeditious disposal of such cases.

(3) Any officer of the Delhi Special Police Establishment investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.

(4) The Delhi Special Police Establishment may, with the consent of the Lokpal, appoint a panel of Advocates, other than the Government Advocates, for conducting the cases referred to it by the Lokpal.

(5) The Central Government may from time to time make available such funds as may be required by the Director of the Delhi Special Police Establishment for conducting effective investigation into the matters referred to it by the Lokpal and the Director shall be responsible for the expenditure incurred in conducting such investigation.

26. Search and seizure. – (1) If the Lokpal has reason to believe that any document which, in its opinion, shall be useful for, or relevant to, any investigation under this Act, are secreted in any place, it may authorize any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to whom the investigation has been given to search for and to seize such documents.

(2) If the Lokpal is satisfied that any document seized under sub-section (1) may be used as evidence for the purpose of any investigation under this Act and that it shall be necessary to retain the document in its custody or in the custody of such officer as may be authorised, it may so retain or direct such authorised officer to retain such document till the completion of such investigation :

Provided that where any document is required to be returned, the Lokpal or the authorised officer may return the same after retaining copies of such document duly authenticated.

27. Lokpal to have powers of civil court in certain cases. – (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, for the purpose of any preliminary inquiry, the Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal shall have all the powers of a civil court, under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely :-
(i) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;

(ii) requiring the discovery and production of any document;

(iii) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(iv) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;

(v) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents :

Provided that such commission, in case of a witness, shall be issued only where the witness, in the opinion of the Lokpal, is not in a position to attend the proceeding before the Lokpal; and
(vi) such other matters as may be prescribed.

(2) Any proceeding before the Lokpal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of section 193 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

28. Provisional attachment of assets. – Power of Lokpal to utilize services of officers of Central or State Government. – (1) The Lokpal may, for the purpose of conducting any preliminary inquiry or investigation, utilize the services of any officer or organization or investigating agency of the Central Government or any State Government, as the case may be.

(2) For the purpose of preliminary inquiry or investigating into any matter pertaining to such inquiry or investigation, any officer or organization or agency whose services are utilized under sub-section (1) may, subject to the superintendence and direction of the Lokpal, –
(a) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him;

(b) require the discovery and production of any document; and

(c) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any office.

(3) The officer or organization or agency whose services are utilized under sub-section (2) shall inquire or, as the case may be, investigate into any matter pertaining to the preliminary inquiry or investigation and submit a report thereon to the Lokpal within such period as may be specified by it in this behalf.

29. Provisional attachment of assets. – (1) Where the Lokpal or any officer authorized by it in this behalf, has reason to believe, the reason for such belief to be recorded in writing, on the basis of material in his possession, that –
(a) any person is in possession of any proceeds of corruption;

(b) such person is accused of having committed an offense relating to corruption; and

(c) such proceeds of offense are likely to be concealed, transferred or dealt with in any manner which may result in frustrating any proceedings relating to confiscation of such proceeds of offense,

the Lokpal or the authorized officer may, by order in writing, provisionally attach such property for a period not exceeding ninety days from the date of the order, in the manner provided in the Second Schedule to the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961) and the Lokpal and the officer shall be deemed to be an officer under sub-rule (e) of rule 1 of that Schedule.

(2) The Lokpal or the officer authorized in this behalf shall, immediately after attachment under sub-section (1), forward a copy of the order, along with the material in his possession, referred to in that sub-section, to the Special Court, in a sealed envelope, in the manner as may be prescribed and such Court may extend the order of attachment and keep such material for such period as the Court may deem fit.

(3) Every order of attachment made under sub-section (1) shall cease to have effect after the expiry of the period specified in that sub-section or after the expiry of the period as directed by the Special Court under sub-section (2).

(4) Nothing in this section shall prevent the person interested in the enjoyment of the immovable property attached under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), from such enjoyment.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this sub-section, “person interested”, in relation to any immovable property, includes all persons claiming or entitled to claim any interest in the property.

30. Confirmation of attachment of assets. – (1) The Lokpal, when it provisionally attaches any property under sub-section (1) of section 29 shall, within a period of thirty days of such attachment, direct its Prosecution Wing to file an application stating the facts of such attachment before the Special Court and make a prayer for confirmation of attachment of the property till completion of the proceedings against the public servant in the Special Court.

(2) The Special Court may, if it is of the opinion that the property provisionally attached had been acquired through corrupt means, make an order for confirmation of attachment of such property till the completion of the proceedings against the public servant in the Special Court.

(3) If the public servant is subsequently acquitted of the charges framed against him, the property, subject to the orders of the Special Court, shall be restored to the concerned public servant along with benefits from such property as might have accrued during the period of attachment.

(4) If the public servant is subsequently convicted of the charges of corruption, the proceeds relatable to the offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (49 of 1988) shall be confiscated and vest in the Central Government free from any encumbrance or leasehold interest excluding any debt due to any bank or financial institution.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this sub-section, the expressions “bank”, “debt” and “financial institution” shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (d), (g) and (h) of section 2 of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (51 of 1993).

31. Confiscation of assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances. – (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of sections 29 and 30, where the Special Court, on the basis of prima facie evidence, has reason to believe or is satisfied that the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, by whatever name called, have arisen or procured by means of corruption by the public servant, it may authorize the confiscation of such assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits till his acquittal.

(2) Where an order of confiscation made under sub-section (1) is modified or annulled by the High Court or where the public servant is acquitted by the Special Court, the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, confiscated under sub-section (1) shall be returned to such public servant, and in case it is not possible for any reason to return the assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits, such public servant shall be paid the price thereof including the money so confiscated with interest at the rate of five per cent. per annum thereon calculated from the date of confiscation.

32. Power of Lokpal to recommend transfer or suspension of public servant connected with allegation of corruption. – (1) Where the Lokpal, while making a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption, is prima facie satisfied, on the basis of evidence available, –
(i) that the continuance of the public servant referred to in clause (d) or clause (e) or clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 14 in his post while conducting the preliminary inquiry is likely to affect such preliminary inquiry adversely; or

(ii) such public servant is likely to destroy or in any way tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses,

then, the Lokpal may recommend to the Central Government for transfer or suspension of such public servant from the post held by him till such period as may be specified in the order.

(2) The Central Government shall ordinarily accept the recommendation of the Lokpal made under sub-section (1), except for the reasons to be recorded in writing in a case where it is not feasible to do so for administrative reasons.

33. Power of Lokpal to give directions to prevent destruction of records during preliminary inquiry. – The Lokpal may, in the discharge of its functions under this Act, issue appropriate directions to a public servant entrusted with the preparation or custody of any document or record –
(a) to protect such document or record from destruction or damage; or

(b) to prevent the public servant from altering or secreting such document or record; or

(c) to prevent the public servant from transferring or alienating any assets allegedly acquired by him through corrupt means.

34. Power to delegate. – The Lokpal may, by general or special order in writing, and subject to such conditions and limitations as may be specified therein, direct that any administrative or financial power conferred on it may also be exercised or discharged by such of its Members or officers or employees as may be specified in the order.

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