Need and Importance of Lokpal

There are several factors which have led to the introduction of this institution almost in every democratic system of the world in some form or the other these factors can be examined as under.
1. Judicial control of administrative Action is not perfect. The courts do not provide for a review in depth of the entire administrative field. Judicial review does not comprehend the merit of administrative decisions. The courts cannot substitute their own discretion for that of an administrative officer, who has been given the power by law. All these limitation render the judicial control mechanism less effective and invite the need for an institution like Ombudsman.
2. A good number of administrative functions fall outside judicial purview, the courts cannot examine the validity of in-built guidelines of the administrative authorities for the exercise of their vast power. The courts cannot compel the exercise of administrative powers, however harmful its non exercise may be to an individual, unless it is mandatory where the power is merely enabling or permissive, its exercised cannot be compelled. Moreover, where sufficient grounds of judicial review are provided, e.g., ultra vires, malafide, improper purpose extraneous considerations, it is not an easy to get the relief sought and administrative Action quashed, as it is too difficult to secure evidence on the issue involved. An aggrieved person can hardly get an access to the departmental files or compel the department to produce them before the courts for establishing his case.
3. The administration is not obliged to give reason for its decision unless it is obviously required under the statute or the nature of the case is such which warrants the application of natural justice. Although in recent years judicial trend is developing to insist on giving reason, yet it is not possible in every kind of administrative function. Moreover, there are many facets of working of the administration, which remain unremedied at judicial forum. Further judicial proceedings are dilatory, formal and costly which discourages a large number of aggrieved persons to come forward for an appropriate remedy.
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4. The system of in-built control in the administration to set right it lapses and faults is not satisfactory and adequate. It does not provide any guarantee of good behavior. There is generally official bias towards maintain and supporting original decisions of the lower echelons of administration and higher or superior authority hardly looks into the complaints of the citizen seriously. This leaves the grievances unattended and unremedied. In this type of situation some responsible and independent person could ensure a genuine review of administrative Action, it has , therefore , been felt that some independent institution outside administrative hierarchy, should be established to detect and check administrative lapses and faults and to ventilate the grievances of people so that the rights of the individuals are not unduly transgressed and appropriate relief is provided to them
5. The legislature too could not prove effective in controlling the executive. It is usually engaged in discussing policy matters and proposals for legislation. It could hardly spare time for looking into individual grievances on the floor of the house. Nor has it any mechanism at its disposal to probe into administrative faults and lapses in individual cases. Hence redressal of individual grievances through the legislature has become meaningless.
Thus the existing modes and methods for preventing abuses by public officials have proved inadequate and inefficacious and consequently public grievances are mounting up alarmingly. Ombudsman may prove a very potential institution to redress individual grievances arising out of bad and corrupt administration. It will have full privileges of access to the departmental file to probe into administrative faults. The procedure of filing complaint and obtaining redressal is simple, cheap and speedy as it would be not formalized and dilatory. It would be able to give relief or incapable of the same. Moreover it would be an independent body, outside the administrative hierarchy to probe into administrative lapses and faults. This very fact will ensure the public confidence into its investigation and recommendations.
After analyzing the working of the Ombudsman in New Zealand, England and Australia it has been rightly stated on the role of such institution as below:
“The Ombudsman is closely concerned with the correct functioning of the administrative machine. His function is to locate ‘maladministration’ or faults in administration. He does not upset
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administrative decisions in the absence of the element of mal-administration even though he takes a different view of a decision on merits from what the administration has taken. The Ombudsman has the; ‘frontier’ with the law; in some respects an ‘overlap’, but his criteria for judging maladministration or injustices are not co-extensive with those of thee law courts. Ombudsman can deal with many facets of administrative Action with which the court may not concern themselves…….Ombudsman also helps in gradually improving administrative procedures by making recommendations for modifying these procedures. Ombudsman thus can help in developing a body of principles of administrative due process”
The term Ombudsman refers to institution which has three basic and unique characteristics:
a) Ombudsman is a person who is an self-determining and unbiased officer of the legislature who has been charge with management of the administration;
b) Ombudsman look into detailed grievances from the people in opposition to administrative inequality and maladministration, (or may proceed on his own information in similar circumstances);
c) Ombudsmen have the authority to enquire, condemn and report back to the legislature, except not to overturn administrative Action.

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