Lokpal

Procedure in Respect of Preliminary Inquiry and Investigation by Lokpal

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

Procedure in Respect of Preliminary Inquiry and Investigation

20. Provisions relating to complaints and preliminary inquiry and investigation. – (1) The Lokpal on receipt of a complaint, if it decides to proceed further, may order –
(a) 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; or

(b) investigation by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) when there exists a prima facie case :

Provided that the Lokpal shall if it has decided to proceed with the preliminary inquiry, by a general or special order, refer the complaints or a category of complaints or a complaint received by it in respect of public servants belonging to Group A or Group B or Group C or Group D to the Central Vigilance Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003) :
Provided further that the Central Vigilance Commission in respect of complaints referred to it under the first proviso, after making preliminary inquiry in respect of public servants belonging to Group A and Group B, shall submit its report to the Lokpal in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-sections (2) and (4) and in case of public servants belonging to Group C and Group D, the Commission shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003) :

Provided also that before ordering an investigation under clause (b), the Lokpal shall call for the explanation of the public servant so as to determine whether there exists a prima facie case for investigation :

Provided also 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 (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) under this Act.

(2) During the preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1), the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall conduct a preliminary inquiry and on the basis of material, information and documents collected seek the comments on the allegations made in the complaint from the public servant and the competent authority and after obtaining the comments of the concerned public servant and the competent authority, submit, within sixty days from the date of receipt of the reference, a report to the Lokpal.

(3) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received under sub-section (2) from the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment), and after giving an opportunity of being heard to the public servant, decide whether there exists a prima facie case, and proceed with one or more of the following actions, namely:-

(a) investigation by any agency or the Delhi Special Police Establishment, as the case may be;

(b) initiation of the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servants by the competent authority;

(c) closure of the proceedings against the public servant and to proceed against the complainant under section 46.

(4) Every preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1) shall ordinarily be completed within a period of ninety days and for reasons to be recorded in writing, within a further period of ninety days from the date of receipt of the complaint.

(5) In case the Lokpal decides to proceed to investigate into the complaint, it shall direct any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to carry out the investigation as expeditiously as possible and complete the investigation within a period of six months from the date of its order :

Provided that the Lokpal may extend the said period by a further period not exceeding of six months at a time for the reasons to be recorded in writing.

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall, in respect of cases referred to it by the Lokpal, submit the investigation report under that section to the court having jurisdiction and forward a copy thereof to the Lokpal.

(7) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received by it under sub-section (6) from any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) and after obtaining the comments of the competent authority and the public servant may –

(a) grant sanction to its Prosecution Wing or investigating agency to file charge-sheet or direct the closure of report before the Special Court against the public servant;

(b) direct the competent authority to initiate the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servant.

(8) The Lokpal may, after taking a decision under sub-section (7) on the filing of the charge-sheet, direct its Prosecution Wing or any investigating agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to initiate prosecution in the Special Court in respect of the cases investigated by the agency.

(9) The Lokpal may, during the preliminary inquiry or the investigation, as the case may be, pass appropriate orders for the safe custody of the documents relevant to the preliminary inquiry or, as the case may be, investigation as it deems fit.

(10) The website of the Lokpal shall, from time to time and in such manner as may be specified by regulations, display to the public, the status of number of complaints pending before it or disposed of by it.

(11) The Lokpal may retain the original records and evidences which are likely to be required in the process of preliminary inquiry or investigation or conduct of a case by it or by the Special Court.

(12) Save as otherwise provided, the manner and procedure of conducting a preliminary inquiry or investigation (including such material and documents to be made available to the public servant) under this Act, shall be such as may be specified by regulations.

21. Persons likely to be prejudicially affected to be heard. – If, at any stage of the proceeding, the Lokpal –

(a) considers it necessary to inquire into the conduct of any person other than the accused; or

(b) is of opinion that the reputation of any person other than an accused is likely to be prejudicially affected by the preliminary inquiry,

the Lokpal shall give to that person a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the preliminary inquiry and to produce evidence in his defense, consistent with the principles of natural justice.

22. Lokpal may require any public servant or any other person to furnish information, etc. – Subject to the provisions of this Act, for the purpose of any preliminary inquiry or investigation, the Lokpal or the investigating agency, as the case may be, may require any public servant or any other person who, in its opinion, is able to furnish information or produce documents relevant to such preliminary inquiry or investigation, to furnish any such information or produce any such document.

23. Power of Lokpal to grant sanction for initiating prosecution. – (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) or section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (49 of 1988), the Lokpal shall have the power to grant sanction for prosecution under clause (a) of sub-section (7) of section 20.

(2) No prosecution under sub-section (1) shall be initiated against any public servant accused of any offense alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, and no court shall take cognizance of such offense except with the previous sanction of the Lokpal.

(3) Nothing contained in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall apply in respect of the persons holding office in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution and in respect of which a procedure for removal of such person has been specified therein.
(4) The provisions contained in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) shall be without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in article 311 and sub-clause (c) of clause (3) of article 320 of the Constitution.

24. Action on investigation against public servant being Prime Minister, Ministers or Members of Parliament. – Where, after the conclusion of the investigation, the findings of the Lokpal disclose the commission of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (49 of 1988) by a public servant referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 14, the Lokpal may file a case in the Special Court and shall send a copy of the report together with its findings to the competent authority.

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