We all are aware of Anna Hazare‘s (Kisan Baburao Hazare’s) hunger strike. We have seen the support from all country also by the Indians  throughout the world given to Anna’s cause. But though most of people still not aware of the exact cause of his strike. they have just support the cause knowing that this could remove the corruption from the country, but we must know how the Jana Lokapal Bill could do this.  So I’m posting a small article regarding Jana Lokapal Bill on this blog referring Wikipedia & some news. Please go through it. Know the cause & support the cause ….

Jana Lokapal Bill

(जन लोकपाल विधेयक)

 

The Jan Lokpal Bill (Hindi: जन लोकपाल विधेयक) (also referred to as the citizens’ ombudsman bill) is a proposed anti-corruption law in India. It is designed to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances and protect whistle-blowers. If passed and made into law, the bill seeks to create an ombudsman called the Lokpal (translation: protector of the people) – an independent body similar to the Election Commission of India with the power to investigate politicians and bureaucrats without prior government permission. First introduced in 1969, the bill has failed to become law for nearly over four decades.

In 2011, Gandhian rights activist Anna Hazare started a Satyagraha movement by commencing a fast unto death in New Delhi to demand the passing of the bill. The movement attracted attention in the media, and thousands of supporters. Following Hazare’s four day hunger strike, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the bill would be re-introduced in the 2011 monsoon session of the Parliament.

Attempts to draft a compromise bill, merging the Government’s version and that of the civil group’s version (Jan Lokpal), by a committee of five Cabinet Ministers and five social activists failed. The Indian government introduced its own version of the bill in the parliament, which the activists consider to be too weak.

 

Background

The bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushann in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabhaa in 1969. However, it did not get through in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008. But these never 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 – mainly comprising of N. Santosh Hegde a former justice of theSupreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement.

The bill’s supporters consider existing laws too weak and insufficiently enforced to stop corruption.

 

Key features of proposed bill

  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 intoLokpal 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights:Difference between Government and activist drafts

Difference between Draft Lokpal Bill 2010 and Jan Lokpal Bill

Draft Lokpal Bill (2010)

Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill)

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 Sabhaor the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo motoaction 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 First Information (FIR) Report or proceed with criminal investigations. 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.

 

Complete set of differences between Jan Lokpal and Government’s Lokpal bill (2011)

These differences between the two versions of the Lokpal Bill were claimed by India Against Corruption in a document released online on June 23, 2011.

 

Issue

The Jan Lokpal Bill

Government’s Lokpal Bill

Comments by critics (India Against Corruption) of Lokpa

Comments by critics of Jan Lokpal

Prime Minister

Lokpal should have power to investigate allegations of corruption against PM. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints PM kept out of Lokpal’s purview. As of today, corruption by PM can be investigated under Prevention of Corruption Act. Government wants investigations to be done by CBI, which comes directly under him, rather than independent Lokpal. The PM, as the head of the state, should not be allowed to be probed by an extra-constitutional body. That undermines existing bodies set up constitutionally to investigate that

Judiciary

Lokpal should have powers to investigate allegation of corruption against judiciary. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints Judiciary kept out of Lokpal purview. Government wants this to be included in Judicial Accountability Bill (JAB). Under JAB, permission to enquire against a judge will be given by a three member committee (two judges from the same court and retd Chief justice of the same court). There are many such flaws in JAB. We have no objections to judiciary being included in JAB if a strong and effective JAB were considered and it were enacted simultaneously. Having Lokpal investigate the Judiciary fouls the existing structure of the judicial review process. This is dangerous

MPs

Lokpal should be able to investigate allegations that any MP had taken bribe to vote or speak in Parliament. Government has excluded this from Lokpal’s purview. Taking bribe to vote or speak in Parliament strikes at the foundations of our democracy. Government’s refusal to bring it under Lokpal scrutiny virtually gives a license to MPs to take bribes with impunity. According to Article 105 of the Constitution of India], MPs have certain legal protections for their actions in the Parliament. Lokpal cannot supercede this clause

Grievance redressal

Violation of citizen’s charter (if an officer does not do a citizen’s work in prescribed time) by an officer should be penalized and should be deemed to be corruption. No penalties proposed. So, this will remain only on paper. Government had agreed to our demand in the Joint committee meeting on 23rd May. It is unfortunate they have gone back on this decision.

CBI

Anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal. CBI to be completely controlled by the Government and the Prime Minister. CBI is misused by governments. Recently, govt has taken CBI out of RTI, thus further increasing the scope for corruption in CBI. CBI will remain corrupt till it remains under government’s control

Selection of Lokpal members (Selection committee)

1. Broad based selection committee with 2 politicians, four judges and two independent constitutional authorities.
2. An independent search committee consisting of retd constitutional authorities to prepare first list.
3. A detailed transparent and participatory selection process.
1.Five out of ten members from ruling establishment and six politicians in selection committee (PM, Leaders of ruling party in two House, Leaders of Opposition in two houses, Minister for Home Affairs). Others bring two judges and President of National Academy of Sciences
2. Search committee to be selected by selection committee
3. No selection process provided. It will completely depend on selection committee.
Government’s proposal ensures that the government will be able to appoint its own people as Lokpal members and Chairperson.

Interestingly, they had agreed to the selection committee proposed by us in the meeting held on 7th May. There was also a broad consensus on selection process. However, there was a disagreement on composition of search committee. We are surprised that they have gone back on the decision.

Who will Lokpal be accountable to?

To the people. A citizen can make a complaint to Supreme Court and seek removal. To the Government. Only government can seek removal of Lokpal With selection and removal of Lokpal in government’s control, it would virtually be a puppet in government’s hands, against whose seniormost functionaries it is supposed to investigate, thus causing serious conflict of interest.

Integrity of Lokpal staff

Complaint against Lokpal staff will be heard by an independent authority. Lokpal itself will investigate complaints against its own staff, thus creating serious conflicts of interest Government’s proposal creates a Lokpal, which is accountable either to itself or to the government. We have suggested giving these controls in the hands of the citizens.

Method of enquiry

Method would be the same as provided in CrCP like in any other criminal case. After preliminary enquiry, an FIR will be registered. After investigations, case will be presented before a court, where the trial will take place CrPC being amended. Special protection being provided to the accused. After preliminary enquiry, all evidence will be provided to the accused and he shall be heard as to why an FIR should not be regd against him. After completion of investigations, again all evidence will be provided to him and he will be given a hearing to explain why a case should not be filed against him in the court. During investigations, if investigations are to be started against any new persons, they would also be presented with all evidence against them and heard. Investigation process provided by the government would severely compromise all investigations. If evidence were made available to the accused at various stages of investigations, in addition to compromising the investigations, it would also reveal the identity of whistleblowers thus compromising their security. Such a process is unheard of in criminal jurisprudence anywhere in the world. Such process would kill almost every case.

Lower bureaucracy

All those defined as public servants in Prevention of Corruption Act would be covered. This includes lower bureaucracy. Only Group A officers will be covered . One fails to understand government’s stiff resistance against bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpal’s ambit. This appears to be an excuse to retain control over CBI because if all public servants are brought under Lokpal’s jurisdiction, government would have no excuse to keep CBI.

Lokayukta

The same bill should provide for Lokpal at centre and Lokayuktas in states Only Lokpal at the centre would be created through this Bill. According to Mr Pranab Mukherjee, some of the CMs have objected to providing Lokayuktas through the same Bill. He was reminded that state Information Commissions were also set up under RTI Act through one Act only

Whistleblower protection

Lokpal will be required to provide protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption. No mention in this law. According to govt, protection for whistleblowers is being provided through a separate law. But that law is so bad that it has been badly trashed by standing committee of Parliament last month. The committee was headed by Ms Jayanthi Natrajan. In the Jt committee meeting held on 23rd May, it was agreed that Lokpal would be given the duty of providing protection to whistleblowers under the other law and that law would also be discussed and improved in joint committee only. However, it did not happen.

Special benches in HC

High Courts will set up special benches to hear appeals in corruption cases to fast track them. No such provision One study shows that it takes 25 years at appellate stage in corruption cases. This ought to be addressed.

CrPC

On the basis of past experience on why anti-corruption cases take a long time in courts and why do our agencies lose them, some amendments toCrPC have been suggested to prevent frequent stay orders. Not included

Dismissal of corrupt government servant

After completion of investigations, in addition to filing a case in a court for prosecution, a bench of Lokpal will hold open

hearings and decide whether to remove the government servant from job.

The minister will decide whether to remove a corrupt officer or not. Often, they are beneficiaries of corruption, especially when senior officer are involved. Experience shows that rather than removing corrupt people, ministers have rewarded them. Power of removing corrupt people from jobs should be given to independent Lokpal rather than this being decided by the minister in the same department.

Punishment for corruption

1. Maximum punishment is ten years 2. Higher punishment if rank of accused is higher 3. Higher fines if accused are business entities 4. If successfully convicted, a business entity should be blacklisted from future contracts. None of these accepted. Only maximum punishment raised to 10 years.

Financial independence

Lokpal 11 members collectively will decide how much budget do they need Will be paid through the Consolidated Fund of India  (Finance ministry will decide the quantum of budget) This seriously compromises with the financial independence of Lokpal

Prevent further loss

Lokpal will have a duty to take steps to prevent corruption in any ongoing activity, if brought to his notice. If need be, Lokpal will obtain orders from High Court. No such duties and powers of Lokpal 2G is believed to have come to knowledge while the process was going on. Shouldn’t some agency have a duty to take steps to stop further corruption rather than just punish people later?

Tap phones

Lokpal bench will grant permission to do so Home Secretary would grant permission. Home Secretary is under the control of precisely those who would be under scanner. It would kill investigations.

Delegation of powers

Lokpal members will only hear cases against senior officers and politicians or cases involving huge amounts. Rest of the work will be done by officers working under Lokpal All work will be done by 11 members of Lokpal. Practically no delegation. This is a sure way to kill Lokpal. The members will not be able to handle all cases. Within no time, they would be overwhelmed.

NGOs

Only government funded NGOs covered All NGOs, big or small, are covered . A method to arm twist NGO

False, Frivolous and vexatious complaints

No imprisonment. Only fines on complainants. Lokpal would decide whether a complaint is frivolous or vexatious or false. Two to five years of imprisonment and fine. The accused can file complaint against complainant in a court. Prosecutor and all expenses of this case will be provided by the government to the accused. The complainant will also have to pay a compensation to the accused. This will give a handle to every accused to browbeat complainants. Often corrupt people are rich. They will file cases against complainants and no one will dare file any complaint. Interestingly, minimum punishment for corruption is six months but for filing false complaint is two years.

 

 

Drafting Committee

The drafting committee was officially formed on 8 April 2011. It consists of ten members, including five from the government and five drawn from society. The committee failed to agree on the terms of a compromise bill and the government introduced its own version of the bill in the parliament in August 2011.

Chairmen

The Government of India accepted that the committee be co-chaired by a politician and a non-political activist. It is reported that Pranab Mukherjee, from the political arena, and Shanti Bhushan, from civil society, will fill those roles.

Government representation

Five Cabinet ministers will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are:

  • Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister, Co-Chairman;
  • P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs;
  • Veerappa Moily, Minister of Corporate Affairs;
  • Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications and Information Technology; and
  • Salman Khursid, Minister of Law

Civil society representation

Five leading social activists will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are:

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