The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption authority constituted at the state level. It investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances.
The origin of the Lokayukta can be traced to the Ombudsmen in Scandinavian countries. The Administrative Reforms Commission, (1966-70), had recommended the creation of the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in the states. The Centre is yet to get a Lokpal.
The Lokayukta is created as a statutory authority with a fixed tenure to enable it to discharge its functions independently and impartially. The person appointed is usually a former High Court Chief Justice or former Supreme Court judge.
Members of the public can directly approach the Lokayukta with complaints of corruption, nepotism or any other form of mal-administration against any government official.
The range of powers vary. In, say, Delhi, the Lokayukta inquires into allegations of corruption, misuse of authority and wrong doings of public functionaries including Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs. And civil servants/bureaucrats, judiciary, police and the Delhi Development Authority are excluded from its ambit.
In Karnataka, which in the 1980s was the first state to move to get a Lokayukta and where there has been much controversy over the teeth that the office has, the new powers promised to the Lokayukta keep the Chief Minister, ministers, MPS and MLAs out of the purview.