LOKPAL By Adv. Baby Veena John Altacit Global Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.altacit.com
Introduction The word “LOKPAL” is derived from the sanskrit word ‘loka’ meaning people and ‘pala’ meaning ‘protector or care taker’. Together it means “Protector of People”. The aim of the passing of such a law is to eradicate the corruption in all levels of Indian Polity.
The Evolution of Lokpal First one was in 1968 by Mr. ShantiBhushan. It was passed in Loksabha, but couldn’t pass RajyaSabha, even afetr repeated introduction of it in the years, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008. Finally even after 42 years of its introduction, the Bill is in the very same place….
Current Law Dealing with Corruption Public Servants can be prosecuted under the provisions of ; IPC, CrPC, The Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 and by the Impeachment procedure as per the Constitution of India.
Contd……. The defect in the said procedures: It was required by the investigating authority to get prior permission from the government or the Court before initiating any action against the Public Servants.
Salient Features of LOKPAL Lokpal provides for filing complaints of corruption against all the public servants including the Prime Minister, The Judges in Supreme Court and other courts, and also MP’s. It shall have the powers of an Ombudsman.
As the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) has pointed it out, ‘the introduction/existence of such a bill/law would remove the sense of injustice from the minds of adversely affected citizens and also would instill public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery’.
It shall be a three member body with the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge as the Chairperson and two other members, who were High Court Judges. Any one except a public servant can file a complaint. It is meant to be a speedy process, hence the investigation and the related process shall be completed within a span of 6 months.
It will be an autonomous body with independent functionality and need not seek any prior permission to initiate proceedings against any official. If found guilty, the punishment shall range from punishment for a period of 5 to 7 years.
The Jan Lokpal Bill It is a draft anti-corruption bill drawn by prominent civil society activists known as ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC). Drafted by; Justice SanthoshHegde, Adv. PrasanthBhushan and AravindKejriwal. Many other well-known people are part of the IAC.
They refer to the bill as “ an expression of the collective anger of people of India against corruption” Jan Lokpal was drafted with the aim to create an effective deterrent against corruption.
Salient Features of Jan Lokpal
Lokpal to be established in the Centre and Lokayukta’s in the States.
All public servants shall come under its preview.
The Lokpal shall be as independent as the other three wings of the government so as to avoid any shortcomings.
Any complaint received shall be investigated in one year, trial completed in the next one year and the guilty shall be punished by the end of the second year.
The current anti-corruption agencies were to be merged with the Lokpal.
Lokpal shall provide protection to those who raise their voices against corruption.
Controversies Whether or not to include the Prime Minister’s Office, The Ministers, The MP’s and Judges under the ambit of Lokpal; and 2. Who should select the Office Bearers of the Lokpal.
The IAC strongly recommended the inclusion of all of them. But the Government opposed pointing out that it would be better to maintain the autonomy of the Parliament my making these Officers responsible/accountable only to the Parliament.
Finally……. On 28th July 2011, the Union Cabinet approved the Draft Lokpal Bill to be tabled in the monsoon session of the Parliament.
The Bill says……
Lokpal shall be constituted with a Chairman (who shall be a serving/retired judge) and 8 members, which includes, 4 judicial members.
The non Judicial persons have to be “persons of impeccable integrity and outstanding ability”
The PMO , The CJI and other high judicial officers were exempted.
Exemption of the PMO was to avoid the frivolous and unwanted complaints. The Judiciary was exempted for the reason that they would be covered under the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill which is already before the Parliament.
The President of India shall have the powers to remove or dissolve the Lokpal.
Lokpal shall only have the powers to conduct investigations and not to prosecute any person accused of corruption.