Justice Khanwilkar Appointed as New Chairperson of Lokpal

The Central government appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre as the new Chairperson of the anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal. Justice Khanwilkar will hold the post for a term of five years from the date he enters office or till he attains the age of 70 years.

About Justice A.M. Khanwilkar

Justice Khanwilkar, 65, practiced in the Bombay High Court for over 20 years, specializing in labor, industrial, and constitutional laws.

In 2013, he was confirmed as a Permanent Judge Bombay High Court. During his over two-year tenure in Bombay HC, he heard several landmark cases.

In 2015, Justice Khanwilkar was elevated to the Supreme Court. He served over six years in the apex court before retiring in 2022, after turning 65.

Justice Khanwilkar has been part of several Constitution benches that ruled on crucial issues like the SC/ST Act, Aadhaar, Finance Act 2017, Sabarimala issue, reservation in job promotions, etc. His notable judgments include confirming death for four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape case and upholding the Clean Chit given to Prime Minister Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots.

About the Lokpal

The Lokpal or anti-corruption ombudsman is an independent statutory body established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to investigate graft cases against public servants.

The Lokpal chairperson and its eight members are appointed by a high-level selection committee chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by the CJI.

The Lokpal presently has Vacancies in the post of chairperson and three judicial member posts. Former Supreme Court judge Justice P.C. Ghose completed his term as the first Lokpal chief on May 27, 2022. The Lokpal has been non-functional since then.

With Justice Khanwilkar’s appointment, the Lokpal will once again have its regular chief to take decisions. However, the shortage of members continues to affect its functioning.

Powers and Functions of Lokpal Chairperson

As per the Lokpal Act, the chairperson of Lokpal shall have the powers of superintendence and direction in the conduct of business. He shall also have the power of controlling all officials and staff of the Lokpal.

The chairperson has the responsibility to constitute benches of the Lokpal and assign cases to various benches for inquiry and investigation into corruption complaints.

The Lokpal chief and members are responsible for inquiring and investigating allegations of corruption against public servants from the level of Prime Minister, ministers and MPs down to Group A officers and employees at the central government.


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