Section 16 in The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
Title: Constitution of benches of Lokpal.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act,—
(a) the jurisdiction of the Lokpal may be exercised by benches thereof;
(b) a bench may be constituted by the Chairperson with two or more Members as the Chairperson may deem fit;
(c) every bench shall ordinarily consist of at least one Judicial Member;
(d) where a bench consists of the Chairperson, such bench shall be presided over by the Chairperson;
(e) where a bench consists of a Judicial Member, and a non-Judicial Member, not being the Chairperson, such bench shall be presided over by the Judicial Member;
(f) the benches of the Lokpal shall ordinarily sit at New Delhi and at such other places as the Lokpal may, by regulations, specify.
(2) The Lokpal shall notify the areas in relation to which each bench of the Lokpal may exercise jurisdiction.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2), the Chairperson shall have the power to constitute or reconstitute benches from time to time.
(4) If at any stage of the hearing of any case or matter it appears to the Chairperson or a Member that the case or matter is of such nature that it ought to be heard by a bench consisting of three or more Members, the case or matter may be transferred by the Chairperson or, as the case may be, referred to him for transfer, to such bench as the Chairperson may deem fit.
Title: Distribution of business amongst benches.
Where benches are constituted, the Chairperson may, from time to time, by notification, make provisions as to the distribution of the business of the Lokpal amongst the benches and also provide for the matters which may be dealt with by each bench.
Title: Power of Chairperson to transfer cases.
On an application for transfer made by the complainant or the public servant, the Chairperson, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the complainant or the public servant, as the case may be, may transfer any case pending before one bench for disposal to any other bench.
Title: Decision to be by majority.
If the Members of a bench consisting of an even number of Members differ in opinion on any point, they shall state the point or points on which they differ, and make a reference to the Chairperson who shall either hear the point or points himself or refer the case for hearing on such point or points by one or more of the other Members of the Lokpal and such point or points shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the Members of the Lokpal who have heard the case, including those who first heard it.
Title: Provisions relating to complaints and preliminary inquiry and investigation
(1) The Lokpal on receipt of a complaint, if it decides to proceed further, may order—
(a) preliminary inquiry against any public servant by its Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to ascertain whether there exists a prima facie case for proceeding in the matter; or
(b) investigation by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) when there exists a prima facie case:
Provided that the Lokpal shall if it has decided to proceed with the preliminary inquiry, by a general or special order, refer the complaints or a category of complaints or a complaint received by it in respect of public servants belonging to Group A or Group B or Group C or Group D to the Central Vigilance Commission constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003):
Provided further that the Central Vigilance Commission in respect of complaints referred to it under the first proviso, after making preliminary inquiry in respect of public servants belonging to Group A and Group B, shall submit its report to the Lokpal in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-sections (2) and (4) and in case of public servants belonging to Group C and Group D, the Commission shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003):
Provided also that before ordering an investigation under clause (b), the Lokpal shall call for the explanation of the public servant so as to determine whether there exists a prima facie case for investigation:
Provided also that the seeking of explanation from the public servant before an investigation shall not interfere with the search and seizure, if any, required to be undertaken by any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) under this Act.
(2) During the preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1), the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall conduct a preliminary inquiry and on the basis of material, information and documents collected seek the comments on the allegations made in the complaint from the public servant and the competent authority and after obtaining the comments of the concerned public servant and the competent authority, submit, within sixty days from the date of receipt of the reference, a report to the Lokpal.
(3) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received under sub-section (2) from the Inquiry Wing or any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment), and after giving an opportunity of being heard to the public servant, decide whether there exists a prima facie case, and proceed with one or more of the following actions, namely:--
(a) investigation by any agency or the Delhi Special Police Establishment, as the case may be;
(b) initiation of the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servants by the competent authority;
(c) closure of the proceedings against the public servant and to proceed against the complainant under section 46.
(4) Every preliminary inquiry referred to in sub-section (1) shall ordinarily be completed within a period of ninety days and for reasons to be recorded in writing, within a further period of ninety days from the date of receipt of the complaint.
(5) In case the Lokpal decides to proceed to investigate into the complaint, it shall direct any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to carry out the investigation as expeditiously as possible and complete the investigation within a period of six months from the date of its order:
Provided that the Lokpal may extend the said period by a further period not exceeding of six months at a time for the reasons to be recorded in writing.
(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) shall, in respect of cases referred to it by the Lokpal, submit the investigation report under that section to the court having jurisdiction and forward a copy thereof to the Lokpal.
(7) A bench consisting of not less than three Members of the Lokpal shall consider every report received by it under sub-section (6) from any agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) and after obtaining the comments of the competent authority and the public servant may—
(a) grant sanction to its Prosecution Wing or investigating agency to file charge-sheet or direct the closure of report before the Special Court against the public servant;
(b) direct the competent authority to initiate the departmental proceedings or any other appropriate action against the concerned public servant.
(8) The Lokpal may, after taking a decision under sub-section (7) on the filing of the charge-sheet, direct its Prosecution Wing or any investigating agency (including the Delhi Special Police Establishment) to initiate prosecution in the Special Court in respect of the cases investigated by the agency.
(9) The Lokpal may, during the preliminary inquiry or the investigation, as the case may be, pass appropriate orders for the safe custody of the documents relevant to the preliminary inquiry or, as the case may be, investigation as it deems fit.
(10) The website of the Lokpal shall, from time to time and in such manner as may be specified by regulations, display to the public, the status of number of complaints pending before it or disposed of by it.
(11) The Lokpal may retain the original records and evidences which are likely to be required in the process of preliminary inquiry or investigation or conduct of a case by it or by the Special Court.
(12) Save as otherwise provided, the manner and procedure of conducting a preliminary inquiry or investigation (including such material and documents to be made available to the public servant) under this Act, shall be such as may be specified by regulations.