I had put up my views based on email received giving information about this bill. This can be found here:-
I received another email which repeats those provisions and provides thinking of present government as under:-
- The idea behind Jan Lokpal Bill was to have the independent body which would investigate cases of corruption within a year and ensure speedy trial within the next year. It should also have jurisdiction to investigate the role of officials and prosecute them for their corrupt practices.
- This Lokpal Bill was drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (former Supreme Court Judge and present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist).
- The draft Bill envisages a system where a corrupt person found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated. It also seeks power to the Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission.
- An institution called LOKPAL at the centre and LOKAYUKTA in each state will be set up.
- Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
- 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 next one year so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.
- The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
How will it help a common citizen: If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
- So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering your case or any other work is not being done in 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 ration being siphoned off, poor quality roads been constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off. Lokpal will have to complete its investigations in a year, trial will be over in next one year and the guilty will go to jail within two years.
- 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 and not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
- 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 shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
- What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
- It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.
Bill proposed by the Government
Bill Supported by Shri Anna Hazare
1. The government Bill provides for nothing to recover ill-gotten wealth. A corrupt politician or bureaucrat can come out of jail and enjoy the money. The Jan Lokpal Bill seeks to recover from the accused the loss caused to the government due to corruption. It also increases punishment for the corrupt from a minimum of six months and a maximum of seven years to a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
2. The government Bill makes the Lokpal only an advisory body, vesting powers in the Prime Minister for action on its reports against cabinet ministers and in Parliament for action against the Prime Minister and MPs. The Jan Lokpal Bill gives the Lokpal powers to initiate prosecution after completing investigations. It also gives the Lokpal police powers to register FIRs, proceed with criminal investigations and launch prosecution.
3. The government Bill gives power to the Lokpal to send to jail through summary trial anybody filing false and frivolous complaints, but it does not give the Lokpal power to send corrupt politicians to jail.
4. The government Bill proposes that all three Lokpal members should be retired judges, which could make retiring judges vulnerable to government influence just before retirement.
5. The government Bill proposes to have the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, leaders of both houses of Parliament, leaders of the Opposition in houses, law minister and home minister in the selection panel for the Lokpal member. Barring the first one, the rest are politicians whose offices the Lokpal can investigate for corruption. Also, the committee will have majority members from the ruling party or coalition.
6. The government Bill prescribes a time limit of six months to a year for the Lokpal to complete the inquiry. There is no time limit suggested for the completion of trial. The Jan Lokpal Bill, however, proposes that the investigations be completed within a year and the trial be over within the next year.
7. The government Bill gives no powers to the Lokpal to provide protection to those exposing political corruption, while the Jan Lokpal Bill empowers the Lokpal to provide protection to whistleblowers.
1. The Jan Lokpal Bill seeks to empower the Lokpal to initiate probe suo moto and directly entertain public complaints. The government Bill requires complaints to be routed through the Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairperson.
2. The draft Bill envisages a system where a corrupt person found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated. It also seeks power to the Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission.
3. Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
4. The Jan Lokpal Bill proposes merger of the Central Vigilance Commission with a part of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to create a single point of investigation in cases of corruption. The government Bill proposes to take away powers from the CBI to investigate politicians, thereby insulating them from investigations.
5. Civil society has suggested that the committee consist of members with judicial background, the Chief Election Commissioner, the Comptroller and Auditor General and international awardees, like Nobel and Magsaysay awardees, of Indian origin.
6. It would become impossible for the Lokpal to investigate a case like the Bofors scam if the government Bill is enacted, as it proposes that the Lokpal will have no powers to probe a case against the Prime Minister, if the case deals with foreign affairs, security and defence.
7. It would be impossible for the Prime Minister to act against a cabinet minister on the basis of the Lokpal's report due to the compulsion of coalition politics. It gives the example of former telecom minister A Raja.
8. It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.
I have some doubts. I would request all to think over these points:-