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Jan Lokpal Bill

By on August 18, 2013
arvindkejriwal.co.in

The Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill) is a draft anti-corruption bill drawn up by prominent civil society activists, seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body that would investigate corruption cases, complete the investigation within one year and conduct trials for the case within the next year.

Drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (a former Supreme Court Judge and former Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (a Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (an RTI activist), the draft Bill envisaged a system in which a corrupt person found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth confiscated. It also sought power for the Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without requiring government permission.

Retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi and others, like Anna Hazare, Swami Agnivesh, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Mallika Sarabhai are also members of the movement, called India Against Corruption. Its website describes the movement as “an expression of collective anger of people of India against corruption.” It goes on to state: “We have all come together to force/request/persuade/pressurize the Government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill. We feel that if this Bill were enacted it would create an effective deterrence against corruption.”

Anna Hazare, an anti-corruption crusader, began a fast-unto-death, demanding that this bill, drafted by Civil Society, be adopted. The website of the India Against Corruption movement calls the Lokpal Bill of the government an “eyewash”, and hosts a critique of that government bill. It also lists the difference between the bills drafted by the government and civil society.

Features of the Jan Lokpal Bill:

  1. An institution called Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in each state will be set up.
  2. Like the Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
  3. Cases against corrupt people will not linger on for years anymore: investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in the next one year, so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.
  4. The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
  5. How will it help a common citizen? If the work of any citizen is not done in a prescribed time, in any government office, Lokpal will impose a financial penalty on the guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
  6. So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card had not been made, or if the police are not registering your case, or if any other work is not being done within the prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month’s time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal, like rations being siphoned off, poor quality roads being constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off.
  7. But won’t the government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That won’t be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
  8. What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
  9. What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, the departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of the CBI, will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
  10. It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.

Fundamental duties

  1. To judge the cases and make jurisdictions against corruption cases with the Lokpal.
  2. To judge whether a case is genuine or whether a fake complaint has been made.
  3. To potentially impose fines on a fake complaint, or even a short span of jail time, if the case is not proved to be legally true.

 

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