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Team Anna's Draft of Lokpal Bill

Team Anna's Draft of Lokpal Bill

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Published by Ashutosh Tripathi

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Published by: Ashutosh Tripathi on Jun 21, 2011
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08/12/2011

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THE JAN LOKPAL BILL 2011STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
In his foreword to the UN Convention Against Corruption, the thenSecretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan wrote,“Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosiveeffects on society. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leadsto violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and it allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats tohuman security to flourish. This evil phenomenon is found in all countries, big and small, rich andpoor but it is in the developing world that its effects are moredestructive. Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by divertingfunds intended for development, undermining the government’s abilityto provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice anddiscouraging foreign aid and investment. Corruption is a key elementin economic underperformance and the major obstacle to povertyalleviation and development”. The preamble of this Convention which has been signed by India andhas been ratified by it, states that this Convention was adopted (on31
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October 2003) because the parties adopting it were “concernedabout the seriousness of the problems and the threats posed bycorruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining theinstitutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law”.
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Some of the serious effects of corruption in India were set out in 1993itself in the N.N. Vohra Committee report, which stated that,“The nexus between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy andpoliticians has come out clearly in various parts of the country. Theexisting criminal justice system, which was essentially designed to dealwith the individual offences/crimes, is unable to deal with the activitiesof the Mafia; the provisions of law in regard economic offences areweak….The various crime Syndicates/Mafia organisations havedeveloped significant muscle and money power and establishedlinkages with governmental functionaries, political leaders and othersto be able to operate with impunity”.Corruption has indeed assumed alarming proportions and it is clearthat the existing anti-corruption institutions have failed to tackle themenace and it has therefore become imperative to address theproblems which plague the effectiveness of existing anti-corruptioninstitutions and laws.Article 6 (2) of UNCAC provides that “each state party shall grant thebody (anti corruption institution) or bodies referred to in paragraph 1 of this article, the necessary independence, in accordance with thefundamental principles of its legal system, to enable the body orbodies to carry out its or their functions effectively and free from anyundue influence. The necessary material resources and specializedtasks, as well as the training that such staff may require to carry outtheir functions should be provided”. This bill provides for the constitution of a Lokpal Authority which will beindependent of the public officials and public authorities that it will beempowered to investigate and prosecute. Such independence issought to be provided both by way of a broad based and transparent
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selection process as well as by functional autonomy. The bill,therefore, provides that the Lokpal shall have the authority to select itsown staff and also ensure that such staff is adequate to handlecomplaints of corruption, misconduct as well as grievances. Corruptionalways involves misconduct and gives rise to grievances. These areinter-related. The existing vigilance machinery and the existinggrievance redressal machinery also suffer from the problem of conflictof interests where vigilance officers and grievance redressal officersare unrealistically expected to exercise vigilance over their own bossesor those who exercise administrative control over them. The bill,therefore, provides that the vigilance machinery and the grievanceredressal machinery also be brought under the supervisory control of an independent Lokpal.Article 7 (4) of UNCAC provides that “each state party shall, inaccordance with the fundamental principles of their local law,endeavour to adopt, maintain and strengthen systems that promotetransparency and prevent conflicts of interests”. These are theprinciples on the basis of which powers of investigation andprosecution for corruption, enquiry and punishment for misconduct arerequired to be entrusted to an independent authority which would haveno conflict of interests.Article 8 (2) of UNCAC provides that “in particular, each state partyshall endeavour to apply within its own institutional and legal systems,codes or standards of conduct for the correct, honourable and properperformance of public functions”. In accordance with these principles,the bill provides that each public authority shall prescribe a citizen’scharter for the performance of its public functions for which it would beheld accountable to the independent Lokpal authority.
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