Monday, August 22, 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 - Lets Evaluate ........

             Govt’s Draft Lokpal Bill

Jan Lokpal Bill (Anna Hazare supported)

Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.

Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a
role limited to forwarding reports to a "Competent Authority".

Lokpal will have the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.

Lokpal will have no police powers and no
ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal

Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs.

The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected.

Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body.

Punishment for corruption will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 7 years.

Punishments will be a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.

PM cannot be investigated by Lokpal

PM can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.

Judiciary is exempt and will be covered by a separate "judicial accountability bill"

Judiciary can be investigated, though high level members may be investigated only with permission of a seven member Lokpal bench

MPs can be investigated, but their conduct within Parliament, such as voting, cannot be investigated

MPs can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench

Lower Bureaucracy - Only Group A officers will be covered

All public servants would be included

The CBI will remain a separate agency

The CBI will be merged into the Lokpal

Removal of Lokpal Members & Chair - Any
"aggrieved party" can raise a complaint to the President, who will refer the matter to the CJI(Chief Justice of India).

Any person can bring a complaint to the Supreme Court, who can then recommend removal of any member to the President

Removal of Lokpal Staff & Officers - Lokpal will conduct inquiries into its own behavior

Complaints against Lokpal staff will be
handled by independent boards set-up in each state, composed of retired bureaucrats, judges, and civil society members.

Lokayukta - All state anti-corruption
agencies would be closed and responsibilities taken over by centralized Lokpal.

Lokakyukta and other local/state
anti-corruption agency would remain in place

Protection to Whistleblowers - No protection granted to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are to be protected by law

Punishment for Corruption - Lokpal can only
refer matters to the courts, not take any direct punitive actions. Penalties remain equivalent to those in current law.

Lokpal can either directly impose penalties, or refer the matter to the courts. Penalties can include removal from office, imprisonment, and recovery of assets from those who benefited from the corruption

Investigatory Powers - Lokpal can issue contempt orders, and has the ability to punish those in contempt. No authority to obtain wiretaps, issue rogatory letters, or recruit investigating officers.

Lokpal can obtain wiretaps, issue rogatory letters, and recruit investigating officers. Cannot issue contempt orders

False, frivolous & vexation Complaints - Court system will handle matters of frivolous complaints. Courts can issue fines of Rs 25,000 to 2 lakh

Lokpal can issue fines for frivolous
complaints (including frivolous complaints against Lokpal itself), with a maximum penalty of 1 lakh

Scope - Only high-level corruption can be investigated

All charges of corruption can be investigated

The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances of citizens, and protect whistle-blowers. If made into into law, the bill would create an independent ombudsman body similar to the Election Commission of India called the Lokpal (Sanskrit: protector of the people). It would be empowered to register and investigate complaints of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats without prior government approval.
The Lokpal Bill was first introduce in Parliament by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 & passed by Lok Sabha in 1969, but subsequently rejected in the Rajya Sabha. Since then, various versions of the bill has been introduced to the Parliament over the last four decades, but none has been passed.

Renewed calls for the bill arose over resentment of the major differences between the draft 2010 Lokpal Bill prepared by the government and that prepared by the members of the associated activists movement — N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India; Lokayukta of Karnataka; Shanti Bhushan; Arvind Kejriwal; Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court; and members of the India Against Corruption movement. The bill's supporters consider existing laws too weak, full of contradictions and insufficiently empowered to combat corruption. On the other hand, critics of the Jan Lokpal Bill argue that the bill attempts to supercede existing constitutional bodies and attempts to create a super-institution with sweeping powers, which can be dangerous for the future of democracy.

Some important features of the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill(Anna Hazare supported) are :

1. To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
2. As in the case of the Supreme Court and Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission. As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations.
3. Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
4. A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public.
5. Every month on its website, the Lokayukta will publish a list of cases dealt with, brief details of each, their outcome and any action taken or proposed. It will also publish lists of all cases received by the Lokayukta during the previous month, cases dealt with and those which are pending.
6. Investigations of each case must be completed in one year. Any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year, giving a total maximum process time of two years.
7. Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
8. Government officework required by a citizen that is not completed within a prescribed time period will result in Lokpal imposing financial penalties on those responsible, which will then be given as compensation to the complainant.
9. Complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within a month and, if found to be substantive, will result in the officer being dismissed within two months.
10. The existing anti-corruption agencies (CVC, departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the CBI) will be merged into Lokpal which will have complete power and authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
11. Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.

Drafting Committee :
The drafting committee was officially formed on 8 April 2011. It consisted of the following ten members, including five from the government and five drawn from the civil society. The committee failed to agree on the terms of a compromise bill & the govt introduced its own bill in the parliament in August 2011.
If you notice below, there are five members representing the Govt, but no representations from Opposition. Also, surprisingly, there are no names like Kiran Bedi( retired IPS & Highest ranking Indian Woman), Dr APJ Abdul Kalam(former President of India), TN Seshan ( ex Chief Election Commissioner) Narayan Murthy(Infosys), etc, who have demonstrated adequate capability to be fair & just while handling their office.


                             Qualification & Status


Finance Minister, Co -Chairman

Shanti Bhushan

Former Minister of Law & Justice, Co -

P. Chidambaram

Minister of Home Affairs

Veerappan Moily

Minister of Corporate Affairs

Kapil Sibal

Minister of Communication & Information

Salman Khurshid

Minister of Law

Anna Hazare

Social Activist

Prashant Bhushan

Lawyer & Social Activist

N. Santosh Hegde

Former Lokayukta

Arvind Kejriwal

RTI Activist ( Right to Information)

Interestingly, the Lokpal Bill, 2011 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4 August. It was referred to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Member, Rajya Sabha on 8 August for examination and report within three months. The Standing Committee consists of MPs belonging to 22 political parties, including people like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh, Manish Tewari, Ram Vilas Paswan…..people, who we all know & believe are seeped to the bones in corruption !!!! If these people are going to decide on the future & sanctity of the Lokpal Bill, then there is a huge credibility issue. If these are the people who are supposed to give us a Corruption free Country, then even God cannot save us !!!!!!

In all fairness, the Jan Lokpal Bill, at least on paper, shows immense promise & capability to eradicate Corruption, which has eaten into the deepest recesses of our Country & our Society. It deserves a chance to establish its worth. The Bill speaks of making every individual accountable in the Country, & letting no one be above Law….it has strong measures to handle corruption & has well defined processes to implement the same. As opposed to this, the Govt draft seems to be weak & inept & wishy washy… expected from this Govt which has failed in its duty to curb Corruption, leave alone eradicate the menace. The expose on the various scams over the last couple of years only strengthens the belief & need for a strong anti Corruption Bill.
Someone like Anna Hazare is staking his life for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, supported by honest activists like Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Spiritual Leaders like Sri Sri RaviShankar, Baba Ramdev & others. The bill has enough ammunition for a start….a fresh start towards building back the Golden days of India. The unprecedented movement across the country by all cross sections of the society over the past few days, only establishes the sanctity of this Bill. Let us continue our support for Anna Hazare.

Jai Hind….


Anonymous said...

bahut clear likha hai aapne sab ke samajh me aane layak.

Anonymous said...

Very well explained & compared between the two versions. Excellent stuff. Keep it up