Anna Hazare has become a household name after he did something. Everyone knows he was “not eating food” for some national thing may be corruption. But don’t you want to know why that great man went extreme to bring those high on the power charts down to Earth. Let’s find out.
Anna Hazare went against the government and initiated his hunger strike as the government was delaying the drafting of the Lokpal bill. Now we come across another question ” What is Lokpal Bill ?”.
In India, the Jan Lokpal Bill (also referred to as the citizens’ ombudsman bill) is a draft anti-corruption law that would create an ombudsman called the Jan Lokpal; this would be an independent body similar to the Election Commission with the power to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without prior government permission.
The Key Features-
- To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
- 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.
- 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.
- A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, video recordings of which will thereafter be made public.
- 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.
- 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.
- Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
- Government offices 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.
But what was wrong?
The bill was very good, but the main problem arose when the government modified the bill to be lenient on them. It was just useless for the common man. Let’s take a look at what was demanded by Hazare and his associates.
Difference between Draft Lokpal Bill 2010 and Jan Lokpal Bill
|Lokpal Bill (2010)||Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill draft|
|Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto 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 be much more than an Advisory Body and 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 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 5 years and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.|
How did the governemnt respond?
The government has stated that it has not received a copy of the proposed bill although after Anna Hazare announced his “fast unto death”, he was invited for talks by the Prime Minister but also told that the government had no time before May 13 for such a meeting. To dissuade Hazare from going on an indefinite hunger strike, the Prime Minister’s Office have directed the ministries of personnel and law to examine how the views of society activists can be included in the Lokpal Bill.
On 5 April 2011, the National Advisory Council rejected the Lokpal bill drafted by the government. Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal then met social activists Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal on 7 April to find ways to bridge differences over the bill. Hazare’s fast was supported by the CPI(M) with their politburo issuing a statement demanding an effective Lokpal Bill.
Still ,there are some issues with the Bill, the latest news is that Hazare has warned that the government will have to face the strikes again if the bill isn’t passes until 15th August 2011. We hope he doesnt have to do this again.