Any developing system of administration gives importance to the existence
of a mechanism for handling the results of the administrative faults, and the
recognition of a right of every member of the society to know what happens in
the government files. For that, the study of Ombudsman, Right to know,
Discretion to disobey, Central Vigilance Commission topics are important. And
now in this article the researcher has confined the research to the topic of
Ombudsman his importance in the field of administration and origin &development
of Ombudsman. The researcher has also had made a comparative study of Ombudsman
in different countries like England, USA, India, and the working of the office
of Ombudsman in those countries. History has shown as many instances of
corruption, abuse of power and nepotism in public administration. The system of
modern administration is no exception to these problems. Complaints of
maladministration, corruption, inefficiency delay, bias, in public
administration etc, have now started increasing. The concentration of power in
a single individual leads to tyranny and dictatorship. The judicial control is
weak and the discretionary power, delay of the administrators cannot be
questioned in the court of law. To solve these problems, countries like Sweden,
USA, England, Australia has created the office of Ombudsman. Even though there
are advantages there are some arguments against setting up of the office of
Ombudsman so the researcher has also dealt with the defects of Ombudsman as the
last discussion. And conclude by expressing her opinion in the institution of
Any progressive system of administration presupposes the existence of a
mechanism for handling grievances against administrative faults, and the
recognition of a right of every member of the public to know what passes in the
government files. The search has produced the idea of ‘ombudsman’ which in
terms of utility means a ‘watchdog of the administration’ or ‘the protector of
the little man’. This institution was first developed in Sweden in 1809.
Ombudsman is Scandinavian word. It is taken to mean officer or commissioner.
In its special sense, it means a commissioner who has the duty of the
investigating and reporting to Parliament on citizens’ complaints against the
Government. Generally the Ombudsman is to a Judge or Lawyer or a high officer.
He investigates the complaints from clients against the administrators and tries
to find out the remedies. An Ombudsman, or his equivalent, has become a
standard part of the machinery of any modern government. In the 21st century,
almost all countries have witnessed a change from laissez-faire to regulation.
Under the effect of new economic policy state has assumed the role of a
facilitator, enabler and regulator. Therefore the chances of misunderstanding
between a government official and private citizen have multiplied to a great
extent. In these circumstances, because of progress and development, individual
right against administrative faults are given very less importance. To overcome
these shortcomings the institution like Ombudsman to protect the ‘little man’
against administrative faults has developed and given importance. The purpose
of the Ombudsman is to control the administration and thus given protection to
the citizen against injustice brought about by faulty administration. His
function is to locate maladministration or faults in the administration. The
main characteristics are
Ombudsman is an independent man non-partisan officer of the Legislature and his
function is to supervise the administration.
He deals with the specific allegation or complaints from the public against
administrative injustice and maladministration. Ombudsman may proceed on his
own information in the similar circumstances.
Ombudsman can investigate, criticise and report back to the legislature but he
cannot reverse the administrative action.
Development In England
In England first Ombudsman is establishes in 1967 by parliamentary
commissioner act of 1967 and it is called as Parliamentary Commissioner. He
appointed by the government on the advice of the prime minister and hold office
for sixty five years. The Parliamentary Commissioner envisaged under the act is
a permanent appointee with the security of the High Court Judge. Since 1994
Ombudsman has entertained responsibility for enforcing the open government code
of practice on access to government information. He investigates the complaints
made before him by the parliamentary members against the government and other
bodies which come under his jurisdiction and the official who fails to comply
with the provision of the code. If there is a absence of enforcement provision,
the select committee of the members of parliament plays an important role in
bringing pressure on the department to accept Ombudsman’s report. There are
times when Ombudsman reports have not been selected it can be overcome by the
existence of the select committee thus it has strengthened this institution.
The ombudsman can be dismissed on the complaint of both house of Parliament.
The department that has been placed under his jurisdiction has been listed in
schedule II to the Act. This list can be order in the council. Thus, the
Parliamentary Commissioner Act, 1967, confers on the Parliamentary Commissioner
jurisdiction only on the Central Government and only over the department stated
in the Second Schedule to the Act. This Act expressly includes the Ministers
along with their departments. Several matters have been excluded by his Act and
they are not subject to the Commissioner’s investigation. Such matters are
specified in Scheduled III. Complaints against the administration cannot be
made to the Ombudsman directly. It can be made to the Ombudsman only through
the members of the House of Commons and only sent through them. The reports are
given by the Ombudsman to the members who had made the complaint. When the
enquiry starts opportunity must be given to comment on the allegation contained
in the complaint for both the departments.
Development In USA
In the United States, there is no unified federal ombudsman service. The
role of handling complaints against federal authorities has to some extent been
unofficially incorporated into the role of the US Member of Congress. This
informal job has become increasingly time consuming. It is subject to criticism
on the grounds that it interferes with a legislator's primary duty, namely to
read and be knowledgeable about a bill before casting his or her vote. Though
there is a lot of ‘Ombudsmania’ in USA no ‘Ombudsman’ has infiltrated the
administration except in the three states of Hawaii, Nebraska and Oregon for
local government agencies. Since 1963, in every session the of the congress a
bill has been introduced to establish an institution akin to Ombudsman is
considered by the members of the Congress as a drag on their status and power
for they consider it their sole prerogative to represent their constituencies
and to handle the grievances of the people. However , the congressional
investigation and grievances cells established in various departments, like the
police review Boards, discharged the work of Ombudsman.
Ombudsman In India
The functions of the ombudsman which were successful in the other countries
inspired the established of Lokpal and Lokayuktas in India also. Lokpal is
the Indian Ombudsman and Lokayuktas is the State Ombudsman.
In 1962, M.C. Setalvad suggested the idea of establishing an Ombudsman at the
All India Lawyers’ Conference.
The Administrative Reforms Committee made a proposal to the Government in 1968.
In 1971, the bill was again introduced, however to end up in failure.
Lokpal Bill Provision
In the Central Government, the President is empowered to appoint the Lokpal
after consultations with Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in
Lok Sabha. The Lokayuktas are appointed by the Governors in consultation with
Lokpal. In a case the Supreme Court held that opinion of Chief Justice of High
Court has primacy in appointments of Lokayuktas. The Lokpal or Lok Ayuktas hold
office for a term of 5 years. They cannot be easily removed from political and
judicial interferences. They can be removed from the office on the ground of
misbehaviour, incapacity etc, by the President after following the procedure
An enquiry must be conducted by a Judge of the Supreme Court.
The report of the judge must be placed before both the House of Parliament.
The President gives an address before both the Houses.
A resolution is passed in both in the House and is voted with not less than 2/3
members of the House present and voting.
The President must sign the resolution. Only then, the Lokpal or Lokayukta is
removed from service.
Principles For Setting Up Lokpal And Lok Ayukta
The following must be followed while setting up Lokpal & Lok Ayuktas
He should be appointed in the non-political manner andhe should be independent
The investigation held by him should be informal and in private
Matters involving acts of injustice, corruption, etc, should be dealt by him and
He should be apart from judicial interferences.
No pecuniary benefit or advantage should come to him from the executives.
The president can appoint ‘Special Lokpal ‘ for fast disposal of complaints.
Special Lokpal is appointed by the President after consulting the Chief Justice
of India, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
The following are the qualification for a Lokpal
He should not be a Member of Parliament or State Legislature.
If he is holding any office of trust or profit, he should resign from it.
He should severe relations with political parties. He should leave up any other
profession he was attending.
He should leave up any trade or any other occupation.
The salary and pension of the Lokpal are equal to that of the Chief Justice of
India. Complaints lodged for investigation will be taken up with the consent of
the Lokpal. If he is biased in the matter, the President shall deal with it in
consultation with the Chief Justice of India. Mal-administration means
unreasonable, unjust or improper administration, undue delay or negligence in
administrative procedure. If there is alternate remedy by way of proceeding
before any Tribunal or Court of Law, then Lokpal will not investigate at
Under the following circumstances, the Lokpal will not investigate the
If the complaints is time barred.
If the complaints relates to any person who is not a public servant.
If the complaints is trivial or malafide.
If there is no sufficient ground for proceeding with the investigation.
Complaints can be filed only by any person who is not a public servant and it
should be in the prescribed form, with prescribes fee, except for those who are
poor and have no means to pay the fees.
The lokpal can take action against all public servants.
He can also investigate any complaint made by private person.
He can take decision against the erring public servants.
He can recommend his findings to be enforced into action.
Some States have adopted the Ombudsman system called Lokayukta. The
instruction of Lokayukta has been established in several States by enacting a
Statues specifically for this purpose. In some States, Uplokayutkas has been
appointed. The States in which Lokayuktas has been established by enacting
Statues include the States of U.P., Bihar, State of H.P., Karnataka, Andra
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc. The provisions of the
States, however, are not same. But in all the states, the Lokayuktas have been
given jurisdiction over the Ministers, Public servants and officers in all
States. In Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Orissa, Lokayutkta has been given
jurisdiction over the Chief Minister also. In Maharashtra, Bihar, U.P. and
Rajasthan, Lokayukta has not been given jurisdiction over ex-ministers and
Qualification And Function
The Lokayukta or UpLokayukta should not be member of any Legislative and
should not be connected with any political party or carry on any business or
profession. His terms of his office is 5 years. He shall investigate any
complaint filed by an aggrieved person along with an affidavit. The complaint
will not be taken up, if there is any alternate remedy. The procedure of
investigation, etc, is the same as that of the Lokpal. The Lokayukta and
Uolokayukta will present a consolidated report of their functions to the
Even though there are advantages, there are some arguments against setting up of
the office of the Ombudsman.
It is said that this institution may be successful in the countries with low
population, but countries with large population like India or USA with their
large complaints it may be difficult for a single man to solve all those
It is also said that the success of the institution of Ombudsman in Denmark owes
its success to its first Ombudsman, Prof. Hurwitz. He took great interest to
look into the complaints sent to him and solved it personally. Prestige will be
lost if there a many such officers or if there is a single officer who has
always to depend upon a large staff and subordinate officers.
According to Mukherjea J, in India this institution is not suitable. He
describes ir as "an accusatorial and inquisitorial institution and a combination
of unprecedented in democracy with tradition of independent judiciary". It is
an "impractical and disastrous experiment" which will not fit into the
In a democratic government, it is expected that the subjects have adequate
means to solve the problems. Since the present judicial system is not sufficient
to deal with all cases of injustices, an system like Ombudsman may help in
solving the administration problems and give justice to aggravated person. But
Ombudsman is not a "panacea for all the evils of bureaucracy" state. His
success depends upon the existence of a reasonable well-administered state. He
cannot cope with the situation where administration is riddled with patronage
and corruption.Thus the researcher conclude that it’s a great system of control
it may be applicable for the country which has less population and good working
government but in the country like India or USA with this large population it is
not that effective for check in administration as it is institution with a less
persons to complaint or investigate and giving report to parliament and solve