Jan Lokpal Bill Essay Sample

Jan Lokpal Bill Pages
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The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to the Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-corruption bill drafted and drawn up by civil society activists in India seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body to investigate corruption cases. This bill also proposes improvements to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011,which was to be passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011. The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, compensate citizen grievances, and protect whistle-blowers. The prefix Jan (translation: citizens) signifies that these improvements includes inputs provided by “ordinary citizens” through an activist-driven, non-governmental public consultation. Background

The word Lokpal was coined in 1963 by L.M. Singhvi, a Member of Parliament during a debate in Parliament about grievance redressal mechanisms. His son Dr. Abhishek Singhvi was head of the Parliament standing committee reviewing the bill[5] but later resigned from the post after a sex-tape controversy.[6] In order to draw the attention of the government, a focused campaign “India Against Corruption” (IAC) was started in 2011. Anna Hazare is the head of civil society and the IAC movement. Being a foreground for Jan Lokpal campaign. Through these collaborative efforts till August 2011, IAC was able to upload the 23rd version of Jan Lokpal Bill draft.[7] Lokpal Bill

The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968[8] and passed the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill lapsed.[9] Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008,[10] but none of them were passed. In 2011, during the Parliament’s Winter Session, the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Lokpal Bill, but could not be passed by Rajya Sabha due to shortage of time in the winter session of 2011. Government has not put Lokpal bill again in Rajya Sabha [11] Timeline and cost

The Lokpal Bill has been introduced in the Parliament a total of eight times
since 1968.
* 1968 – 3 lakh[12] (300,000)
* 1971 – 20 lakh (2 million)
* 1977 – 25 lakh (2.5 million)
* 1985 – 25 lakh
* 1989 – 35 lakh (3.5 million) – PM under lokpal
* 1996 – 1 crore (10 million) – PM under lokpal
* 2001 – 35 crore (350 million) – PM under lokpal
* 2011 – 1700 crore[12] (17 billion)
* 2012 – 2000 crore[12] (20 billion)
Key features of proposed bill
Some important features of the proposed bill are:[1]
1. To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level. 2. As is the case with the Supreme Court of India 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 short-listed candidates for interviews, the video recordings 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 to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction. 8. Government office-work 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 one 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 authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician. 11. Whistle-blowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it. Difference between government’s and activists’ drafts

Difference between Jan Lokpal Bill and Draft Bill 2010[22]| Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill)| Draft Lokpal Bill (2010)| Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.| 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 the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.| Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a role limited to forwarding reports to a “Competent Authority”.| Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs.| Lokpal will have no police powers and no ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal investigations.| Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body.| The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected.| Punishments will be a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.| Punishment for corruption will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 7 years.| Details

The following table details differences between the Government and activist backed versions.[23][24][25] Comparison SlideShow uploaded by India Against Corruption.[26] Issue| The Jan Lokpal Bill[7]| Government’s Lokpal Bill[2]| Prime Minister| PM can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][23]| PM can be investigated by Lokpal after she/he vacates office.[27]| Judiciary| Can be investigated, though high level members may be investigated only with permission of a seven member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][23]| Judiciary is exempt and will be covered by a separate “judicial accountability bill”.[24]| Conduct of MPs| Can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][23]| Can be investigated, but their conduct within Parliament, such as voting, cannot be investigated.[24]| Lower bureaucracy| All public servants would be included.[24]| Only senior officers (Group A) will be covered.[24]| Anti-Corruption wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)|

The Anti-Corruption wing of the CBI will be merged into the Lokpal.[24]| The Anti-Corruption wing of the CBI cannot be merged into the Lokpal.[23]| Removal of Lokpal members and Chair| Any person can bring a complaint to the Supreme Court, who can then recommend removal of any member to the President.[23]| Any “aggrieved party” can raise a complaint to the President, who will refer the matter to the CJI.[23]| Removal of Lokpal staff and officers| Complaints against Lokpal staff will be handled by independent boards set-up in each state, composed of retired bureaucrats, judges, and civil society members.[23]| Lokpal will conduct inquiries into its own behaviour.[23]| Lokayukta| Lokayukta and other local/state anti-corruption agency would remain in place.[24]| All state anti-corruption agencies would be closed and responsibilities taken over by centralised Lokpal.[24]|

Whistleblower protection| Whistleblowers are protected by Lokpal.[23]| No protection granted to whistleblowers by Lokpal.[23]| Punishment for corruption| 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.[23]| Lokpal can only refer matters to the courts, not take any direct punitive actions. Penalties remain equivalent to those in current laws.[23]| Investigatory powers| Lokpal can obtain wiretaps (to make a connection to a telegraph or telephone wire in order to obtain information secretly), issue rogatory letters, and recruit investigating officers. Cannot issue contempt orders.[23]| 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.[23]| False, frivolous and vexatious complaints| Lokpal can issue fines for frivolous complaints (including frivolous complaints against Lokpal itself), with a maximum penalty of Rs 100,000.[23]| Court system will handle matters of frivolous complaints. Courts can give 2–5 years imprisonment and fines of Rs 25,000 to 200,000.[26]| NGOs| NGOs not within the scope due to their role in exposing corruption.[25]| NGOs are within the scope and can be investigated.[25]|

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