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Detailed information and analysis of Lokpal and Jan Lokpal bills
This write-up helps us know about Lokpal bill, its history, civil society Lokpal bill (Jan Lokpal bill), Anna Hazare movement, Anna Hazare Lokpal bill (Jan Lokpal bill version 1.8), Government proposals and subsequent issues. You can download the copies of Government's Lokpal bill, civil society Lokpal bill and Jan Lokpal bill version 1.8 amended by Anna Hazare's supporters.
Jan Lokpal bill
This is the era of corruption. Every month is bringing a new scam. There is no end to scams as there is no end to greediness of politicians. Our forefathers who have given the great legacy of simplicity is left by new generations. In previous ages, politicians have worked for welfare of people and thought that good name is the wealth to man. But, new era politicians have changed the meaning of it and begun to proclaim that whoever has the heaviest baggage of money is considered the best politician. In every election process, money is spent and after having success in three months time and sitting in chair and earning the utmost and filling the pockets in order to spend it in next elections and securing the chair and after wards to provide it to his son and next to his grandson. The politics became mob politics and family politics. Our youth are debarred from political process and there is no way to become part of democratic process. Our youth are spending whole time in searching for jobs and completely ignoring the democratic life. Politicians happily employ the tactics provided by political book "The Prince" in which, the tactics to control the whole life of people are written. If people are given enough food through employment, they will start questioning the governments and so if they are kept on insecure stage where government provides food, there is no need to bother about anything as they can do enough corruption and can live happily for ages without any loss. This is what every time happening in the world. But the time has come to question. People of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are revolting against autocracies. In the same time there is a change at the door steps of India i.e. Jan Lokpal bill.
ARC recommendations – Birth of LokpalThose days were early independent years. That was the time our forefathers had tasted the bad savours of corruption. In those years only, the birth of vigilance commission and intelligence bureau were taking place. There had come a need to establish higher stage of corruption tackling body. To decide how the apex body to be formed to check existing the corruption, there had been appointed a commission which was called Administrative Reforms Commission in 1966. The first ARC had decided to bring up two kinds of institutions which could check the corruption at higher stages. Those are Lokayukta and Lokpal.
LokayuktaThis is state level body to receive complaints from public and go into the case and provide justice and at the same time the culprit to be punished. Before the green signal of centre, many states had brought the Lokayuktas with fewer powers and had started showing they were the real democratic. But the fangs were taken out of these Lokayuktas which could not bring any significant change. These are never heard to anybody and nobody does know about their existence.
LokpalThis was the second one ARC had brought out for change at the central level. This is meant for tackling with corruption charges against higher rung which includes Prime minister and ministers. Lokayukta was implemented in most of the states, but Lokpal was failed in every step of it to become a law. The bill has been a bill since 1968, has never become into the law. It was brought to Parliament in 1968 for first time.
History of Lokpal billLokpal had its birth in first ARC report and later changed to a bill to be placed in Parliament. In 1968, the Lokpal bill had been introduced, but it had not come into effect.
Every government in India had tried to bring the Lokpal bill and had not succeeded. Let us see party wise failures of making the bill into law.
Failure of all governments to bring the Lokpal act
- Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi had initiated the process to make the Lokpal bill into law twice in 1968 and 1971. These two times, Lok Sabha had met with dissolution. After, under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi, the process had been started, but the past experience was repeated and Lok Sabha dissolution had made the bill fall into dust bin. There were two fresh attempts by Congress in 2005 and 2008. Congress had proposed the bill 4 times until now and it is getting ready to start the procedure again.
- After Janata government had come into power, in 1977, it had taken the task of bringing the bill into law had not been fructified as Janata government could not stabilize itself.
- In 1989, V.P Singh led National Front Government, in 1996 Deve Gowda led United Front government, In 1998 BJP led coalition government under the leadership of A.B.Vajpayee and in 2001 Vajpayee led NDA governments had tried and successfully could not bring the law regarding the Lokpal.
This is not the failure of one government but this is the failure of total governments which ruled India for the period of 42 years to serve their purposes and keeping a blanket on the bill to hide it from people. There are 10 unsuccessful attempts in 42 years of time to bring a law which curbs corruption at top stages.
Reasons for government failures to bring Lokpal
- It is suicidal act on the part of governments to bring the Lokpal bill. Even opposition does not want to bring this bill into the Parliament. There will be checking everywhere to government. Even Prime minister cannot be left in these issues. He needs to answer the issues come against him.
- There is chance of arresting the Prime minister after his retirement also even he escapes in his ruling time. Even the secretaries and high cadres which are enjoying immunity fall under this law.
- It is known fact that higher rank politicians also engage in unconstitutional doings and it is known to opposition too, but untold agreement between them saves each other. But, now, with the advent of Lokpal, people can report against Prime minister directly. Hence this is not going to be a good sign on the part of governments.
- Last but not least, the death of first generation freedom fighters who turned into politicians had been taken into the nature (pass away) is also one of the reasons.
These are the reasons which have made governments not to present the Lokpal bill into Parliament. Every time they had attenuated the real bill and placed it before Parliament. Even though it was not passed as a bill, they had guessed that one day or the other this bill would be the sword of the Damocles.
The UPA government had promised at the time of elections that it would bring Lokpal bill. The intention of UPA government was to place attenuated bill in the Parliament and to be in safe zone for the time being.
The main provisions of Lokpal bill (2010)
- This bill ensures the establishment of Lokpal which can investigate the charges of corruption against top public functionaries.
- The Lokpal consists of chairperson who is or has been chief justice of Supreme Court or judge of Supreme Court and two others from Supreme Court (judges) or chief justices of High Court.
Who will appoint the members for Lokpal? President of India selects them on the recommendations of a committee which is headed by
Vice-President of India. The other members in the committee are
- Prime minister
- Lok Sabha speaker
- Home minister
- Leader of the house other than Prime Minister is a member.
- Leaders of both houses of opposition party.
- Lokpal cannot investigate cases related to judges of Supreme Court and Election Commission.
- Lokpal is not given chance to investigate allegations in defence area and international affairs related to Prime Minister.
- In case of frivolous complaints, Lokpal can fix fine up to Rs. 50, 000 including one to three years imprisonment.
Criticism against Lokpal bill 2010
- According to Lokpal bill, it could not initiate a case suo motu (on its own). People also cannot directly complain as their complaints will be sorted out by Lok Sabha speaker and chairman of Rajya Sabha. As Speaker of Lok Sabha is a party man he cannot initiate process to charge his party chief or the other. Hence, the bill may not be successful in providing justice as well as to dent the culture of corruption.
- Even Speaker of Lok Sabha gives permission, Lokpal is an advisory body. Hence, even it can prove the guilty, but it cannot take the action and can only inform it to competent authority. If MP is convicted, the decision is to be taken by Prime Minister or Lok Sabha where it cannot come successful as political vested interests play the role.
- Lokpal is framed as an enquiry committee and has no powers to initiate the case against culprits in courts.
- There is widespread criticism on fixing Rs. 50, 000 fine if the case filed is proved as frivolous and fake. This completely bars the people to complain as the politicians have the power to overcome the cases filed and if people cannot be successful in their attempt, they will be put into prison as well as in penury. So, no one dares to lodge a case against higher political persons.
- The committee which appoints the members are filled with politicians. They have to select the competent person to the Lokpal institution. There is doubt that they select the person who is on their side rather than people side.
- Lokpal is debarred from the issues like external affairs and defence. Hence, it is not going to be the perfect law to check the corruption and still there are loopholes in the law.
As Congress government had promised at the time of elections, it proclaimed the Lokpal bill 2010 which met with criticism and civil activists have led the movement against it.
The birth of Jan Lokpal from the Lokpal bill
As the Lokpal bill is to be introduced in the Parliament, civil society activists have come forward with a strong Lokpal bill. This is termed as Jan Lokpal bill as it has come out of the aspirations of people. This is drafted by Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi (former IPS officer), Justice N. Santosh Hegde (Present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (advocate), and J. M. Lyngdoh (former chief election commissioner) in consultation with the leaders of the India against Corruption movement and civil society. Jan Lokpal bill is also called civil society Lokpal bill and Anna Hazare Lokpal bill as he has supported the bill. Anna Hazare Lokpal bill has slight diffrences with civil society Lokpal bill.
Jan Lokpal has its roots in Lokpal bill. Even Lokpal bill is not made into the law, the bill has shown the target to be achieved. But, government proposed Lokpal bill has diluted the concept, but Jan Lokpal bill strengthened the concept and can be a step towards strong anti corruption bill. Jan Lokpal bill is Lokpal bill with teeth.
Civil society Jan Lokpal bill 2010 (version 1) salient features and provisions
- Lokpal bill is called anti-corruption, grievance redressal and whistleblower protection act, 2010.
- Lokpal is an institution which consists of chairperson as head of it with ten members and will have its officers and employees.
- The chairperson and members have the tenure of 5 years. Their salaries are paid directly from consolidated fund of India.
- There shall be a fund named "Lokpal fund". This fund is accumulation of penalties and fines.
Who will appoint Lokpal chairperson and members?The President of India appoints a selection committee.
The selection commission consists of
- Two senior most judges of Supreme Court shall be taken. The senior most among them acts as chairperson of selection committee.
- Two senior most Chief Justices of High Courts shall be taken.
- All Nobel Laureates of Indian Origin
- Recent three Magsaysay Award winners
- CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India)
- CEC (Chief Election Commissioner)
- In second term, the outgoing members and chairperson of Lokpal.
Jan Lokpal bill version 1.8
This bill is drafted by supporters of Anna Hazare which consist of bit difference with civil society Lokpal bill. The prominent difference in Anna Hazare Lokpal bill is as follows
A selection committee consisting of the following shall be set up:
- The Chairpersons of both Houses of Parliament – (Lok Sabha Speaker and chairperson of Rajya Sabha)
- Two senior most judges who belong to Supreme Court
- Two senior most Chief Justices who belong to High Courts
- All Nobel Laureates of Indian Origin
- Chairperson of NHRC (National Human Rights Commission)
- Recent two Magsaysay Award winners of Indian origin
- CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India)
- CEC (Chief Election Commissioner)
- Bharat Ratna award winners are included.
- After the first term, the outgoing members and Chairperson of
Difference between civil society Lokpal bill version 1 and civil society Lokpal bill version 1.8
- The inclusion of chairpersons in the selection process is agreed in Anna Hazare Lokpal bill.
- Only two Magsaysay award winners are included in selection process in the place of three in civil society Lokpal bill.
- Chairperson of Human rights commission and Bharat Ratna awardees are included in the selection process.
Difference between Lokpal and Jan Lokpal
Lokpal bill is the bill which has been waiting since 1968. Jan Lokpal is the bill which has got the birth from intention of the original Lokpal bill and aspirations of public. Lokpal bill is not made into the law for years and now government is proposing the bill without its teeth which cannot do anything but stay as normal law. But, Jan Lokpal is the law which has ultimate powers to tackle corruption and Lokpal instituted by Jan Lokpal can be an independent institution which can take the culprits to courts directly and work without intervention. In Lokpal, the selection committee consists of political members but Jan Lokpal consists of great personalities who do not have any linkage with political personalities such as judges, Nobel awardees, Bharatratna awardees, Magasaysay awardees, NHRC chairperson and Chief Election Commissioner etc. Lokpal bill makes Lokpal as an advisory body but Jan Lokpal empowers the Lokpal institution as independent and powerful body to investigate and take decisions while government Lokpal bill does not offer these powers to Lokpal. Lokpal bill has jurisdiction on only Prime minister and other ministers and it does not have judiciary under its ambit whereas Jan Lokpal covers the Judges, politicians and bureaucrats. In Lokpal bill, there are only three members who have to deal with the issues whereas the Jan Lokpal consists of ten members. Lokpal has certain limitations in their stint in related to Prime Minister. They are not given chance to investigation related to external affairs and defence related issues. But, Jan Lokpal brings the other omitted areas also under the sphere of the bill. Lokpal has no right to take suo motu or from people. The case to be taken is decided by Lok Sabha speaker and Vice chairman of Rajya Sabha. But, Jan Lokpal bill gives the chance of taking the action suo motu. Jan Lokpal included the whistleblower protection.
Recent developments on Lokpal bill
Civil society activists drafted the Jan Lokpal bill and sent it to government to refer and take decision regarding it in December 2010. The situation was not moved from there. On March 13, 2011, Delhiites popularised the Jan Lokpal with their marches. Several activists supported the bill and asked for the bill to be enacted. Anna Hazare in the support of the bill had decided to fast unto the death. Anna Hazare started his fast unto the death on April 5 with 6000 mumbaikars. The government had got the severity of the issue and promised Hazare on Lokpal issue.
Anna Hazare demands on Lokpal bill
- Promise of bringing the Lokpal bill soon.
- Setting up the joint drafting committee consisting of government and civil society members for drafting the Lokpal bill.
- There should not be any tainted minister in the drafting committee.
- Constituting the draft committee for Lokpal bill with equal number of persons from government side as well as from public. There is the possibility of staying 10 members in committee. Hence, there will be 5 persons from government side and 5 persons from public side.
- Employing the co-chairman from the side of public or civil society activists. The chairman and co-chairman should agree with each other in drafting the provisions for new Lokpal bill.
After government has considered his demands, Anna Hazare stopped his fast of 97 hours on April 9, 2011.
Government proposals in reaction to Anna Hazare's fast
Anna Hazare fast unto death has necessitated the government to take swift action regarding it. It has sent proposals to Anna about his demands that it is ready to place the bill in Parliament and kept the decision of government forward.
- Pranab Mukherjee will be the chairman of the drafting committee.
- The members on the side of government are Veerappa Moily (Minister of law), Kapil Sibal (Minister of Telecom), P. Chidambaram (Home Minister) and Salman Khursheed (Minister of water resources).
- The members on the side of civil society are Anna Hazare (Social activist), Santhi Bhushan(Lawyer), Prasanti Bhushan (Lawyer), Santhosh Hegde (Present Lokayukta of Karnataka) and Aravind Kejriwal (RTI activist and Magasaysay winner).
- Santi Bhushan is to work as co-chairman to this drafting committee. Moily will act as convener.
- The draft is to be completed by June 30. This will be placed in the Parliament monsoon sessions.
Conclusion If the process goes with the same commitment we can have our 42 years dream fulfilled. We can proclaim that India is ruled by its people when we can see the strong Lokpal bill becomes Lokpal act. This can be a step forward for strong anti corruption bill to make India corruption free in the world.
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|Author: Jayanta Datta Choudhury 13 Apr 2011||Member Level: Gold Points : 1|
Very nice and detail article written on the important issue on Jan Lokpal Bill.Worth reading and learning by all of us.
|Author: Chakravarthi (Emperor) 13 Apr 2011||Member Level: Gold Points : 1|
|Thank you Jayanta Datta Choudhuryji,|
I am very happy to see your comment on my article. I feel it is a great award for me as I have got your applaud. Thank you once again.
|Author: PRASHANT KUMAR 25 May 2011||Member Level: Silver Points : 0|
|This is very a very good article. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful information.|
|Author: Nitheesh (Lucky) 25 May 2011||Member Level: Diamond Points : 0|
|Hi Chakravarthi, |
This articles really deserves the prize for the contest. Keep it up.
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