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(äm`bədzmən) [Swed.,=agent or representative], public official appointed to deal with individual complaints against government acts. The office originated in Sweden in 1809 when the Swedish legislature created a riksdagens justitieombudsman, or parliamentary agent of justice, and in the 20th cent. it has been adopted by a number of countries. As a government agent serving as an intermediary between citizens and the government bureaucracy, the ombudsman is usually independent, impartial, universally accessible, and empowered only to recommend. In the United States the term ombudsman has been used more widely to describe any machinery adopted by private organizations (e.g., large business corporations and universities) as well as by government to investigate complaints of administrative abuses. In 1969, Hawaii became the first of many American states to appoint an ombudsman.


See studies by G. Sawyer (2d ed. 1968), F. Stacey (1978), and D. C. Rowat (2d ed. 1986).



in bourgeois states, an official empowered by the constitution or a special law to oversee the workings of government institutions, ministries, and departments. The position of ombudsman was first provided for in the Swedish Constitution of 1809.

In most countries the ombudsman acts nominally on behalf of the parliament, on the initiative of individuals or legal entities that have approached him. The official title of the position of such a government supervisor varies: for example, in France, intermédiaire, and in Great Britain, New Zealand, and India, “parliamentary commissioner” (plenipotentiary). In some countries there are several ombudsmen, each of whom is assigned a certain sphere of administration (in Sweden, for example, there are civil, military, and consumer ombudsmen). Ombudsmen are elected by parliament or appointed by the head of state. In monitoring the actions of officials in the government apparatus, the ombudsman does not have the right to revoke their decisions, but he can make recommendations. In most countries the ombudsmen’s control is very limited; it does not cover the activities of the government, ministers, foreign-policy departments, the police, or municipal agencies.


1. a commissioner who acts as independent referee between individual citizens and their government or its administration
2. (in Britain) an official, without power of sanction or mechanism of appeal, who investigates complaints of maladministration by members of the public against national or local government or its servants
References in periodicals archive ?
In the process, the Jan Lok Pal bill was pushed under the carpet.
When referring to the Jan Lok Pal bill, he meant the legislation that was recommended by Team Anna.
I was not convinced about either Total Revolution or Hazare's demand for Lok Pal.
Elaborating, Bhushan said: "The Team Anna would create awareness among people on issues like: why did we take the stand that we took on the Jan [people's] Lok Pal bill issue?
Reacting to the Parliamentary standing committee's decision to remove Group C employees from the purview of the Lok Pal, Hazare told journalists in his home village of Ralegan Siddhi yesterday: "My hunch is that the Parliamentary Committee, which had earlier agreed to include Group-C employees, has done this U-turn at the behest of Congress General-Secretary Rahul Gandhi".
The DMK had enacted an anti-corruption law in the State, and it wanted Chief Ministers to be included in the ambit of Lok Pal, former Chief Minister and DMK President M.
However, bills such as the Lok Pal, prevention of corruption to combat graft and controversial legislations like the enemy property Bill and the one for creation of a separate Telengana are not listed.
Apart from this, the UPA has given people Right to Information, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for the poor, Food Security Act, Lok Pal Act, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition - Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, and so on.
19 ( ANI ): The UPA Government on Wednesday on announced that it will introduce the Lok Pal Bill for possible passage in the Rajya Sabha during the 2012-13 Budget Session of Parlaiment.
For the Congress too, the Lok Pal debate did not go as well as its leaders would have wanted it to go.
Mumbai Veteran social activist Anna Hazare yesterday threatened to campaign against the ruling Congress in five Assembly poll-bound states if the UPA government failed to ensure the passage of Jan Lok Pal bill during the winter session of Parliament.
The notification by the Ministry of Law and Justice said the Joint Drafting Committee to prepare a draft of the Lok Pal Bill will have five ministers from the government and five nominees of Hazare, including himself.