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Lokpal has no power to review its order

By Ashwini Shrivastava
October 15, 2020 15:35 IST
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Anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal has held that review petitions regarding an order passed by its bench cannot be entertained due to the absence of related provisions in the law governing it, according to an official order.

The move comes after the Lokpal witnessed an increasing number of complainants desirous of a "reconsideration" or "review" of the orders passed by it.

A committee comprising three Lokpal members -- Justices Abhilasha Kumari, D K Jain and I P Gautam -- was constituted to look into the aspect of recommending a policy regarding requests for a review of an order passed by the bench.

The committee, which was formed by Lokpal chairperson Pinaki Chandra Ghose, submitted its reports on October 6, 2020.

"The committee has opined that in the absence of any express and substantive power of review in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, a request for review of an order passed by a bench of the Lokpal of India cannot be entertained," said the order issued on Monday.

 

Hence, it is notified that review petitions regarding an order passed by the bench of Lokpal of India will not be entertained, it said.

The committee, in its report, said that the central government may be requested to consider the inclusion of power of review in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

In view of the fact that a large number of complainants are filing applications for review of an order, the lack of an express power of review in the Act may act as a deterrent to the dispensation of justice, it said.

"Therefore, in order to ensure that no injustice has occurred to the complainant and in the interest of justice, it may be in the fitness of things to request the government of India, at an appropriate stage, to consider the inclusion of the power of review on appropriate grounds, in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013," the report said.

The institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas has been established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to enquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.

The three-member committee, in its report, said that it is a settled position of law, that the power of review cannot be exercised by a statutory body unless the statute specifically confers such power.

"The Act, as it stands, does not confer the power of review. In the absence of any statutory provision in the Act empowering the Lokpal of India to entertain an application for review, any such exercise under the garb of reconsideration/ clarification/ modification/correction of the order, would not be permissible in law," it said.

The jurisdiction of review can only be derived from the statute and thus, if any order of review is passed, in the absence of any statutory provision empowering the same, it would be a nullity, being without jurisdiction, said the panel, which had held its meeting on September 29, citing a Supreme Court order.

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Ashwini Shrivastava
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