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annas lokpal vs.

government lokpal
annas lokpal vs. government lokpal Satyagraha can rid society of all evils,
political, economic, and moral.Satyagraha thrives on repression till at last the
repressor is tired and the object of Satyagraha is gained.Satyagraha does not
depend on the outside [for] help; it derives all its strength from within....The
method of Satyagraha requires that the Satyagrahi should never lose hope, so long
as there is the slightest ground left for it- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Gandhijis theory of Satyagraha was revived when a country-wide peaceful
agitation against corruption gained momentum under the leadership of a 73-year
old civil activist Anna Hazare. With thousands of dissenting aam aadmi flooding
the streets in support of the Citizens Ombudsman Jan-Lokpal Bill (JLP) over
the Government Lokpal Bill (GLP), the nation throbbed and a renaissance has
begun within Indian democracy. However, most of the agitators do not cognize
what JLP contends.
Although the movement reached its destination half way on 28th August, 2011;
when Parliament adopted a resolution to include three crucial demands by Annaa
Camp i.e. inclusion of lower bureaucracy, appointment of Lokayukta at the State
level and incorporation of a Citizens Charter under GLP, it becomes necessary to
know where exactly the two bills diverge and also to analyze significant points of
their differences.
One of the most debated points is the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit
of the Lokpal. On one hand where GLP includes. Another important point of
difference is the Selection procedure and composition of Lokpal members. JLP
provides for an independent Search Committee consisting of retired
constitutional authorities (like judges, eminent IAS officers etc.) to shortlist
potential candidates. The Lokpal chairperson and members are to be b selected
from this shortlist by an independent Selection Committee. The Selection
Committee shall comprise of two politicians, four judges and two retired
constitutional authorities, minimizing the scope for government interference in the
selection process.
On the other hand GLP provides for a panel of 10 members, 6 of whom are
politicians, 5 of whom are from the ruling party, to select the Lokpal members.
Even the Search Committee which searches for eligible Lokpal members shall be
selected by the same panel. Undoubtedly, such a panel will facilitate the
Government to appoint its own people thereby reducing the role of the Lokpal to a
mere puppet.
The two Bills also differ on the point of accountability of the Lokpal. Where on
one hand JLP makes the Lokpal accountable to the people, by giving them enough
freedom to lodge a complaint in the Supreme Court and seek removal of a corrupt
Lokpal, GLP makes the Lokpal accountable to the Government wherein only the
government can seek removal of Lokpal by filing a petition in the Supreme Court.
Such concentration of power will not only give a licence to the government to
appoint inefficient and corrupt Lokpal but will also defeat the very purpose of
enacting a citizens ombudsmen bill which aims at greater citizen participation.
With respect to allegations or complaints of corruption against Lokpal Members,
the JLP provides for a comparatively better machinery by establishing an
independent authority to address such complaints contrary to the provision laid
down in GLP which makes the Lokpal itself the concerned body to hear cases
against its own staff. That will do more harm than good as it may not only
prejudice the mind of the Lokpal but also induce inherent corruption.
The dismissal of a corrupt public servant under JLP is proposed to be carried out
by a bench of the Lokpal which shall hold open hearings and decide whether to
remove the official or not, after the completion of investigations and filing a case
in a court for prosecution. Whereas under GLP such dismissal is left to the minister
of the concerned department. Like a relay race requires a chain of participants and
the efficient and timely exchange of a baton, corruption also involves chain of
corrupt officials and the exchange of gains arising out of such collaboration. In
almost all such cases, the ministers are found to be beneficiaries at some or the
other level which renders justice impossible.
A good legislation is one with simplified procedure, effective remedies and most
importantly speedy justice. Keeping this in mind the JLP proposes to set up Special
benches in the High Courts to expedite the appeal cases of corruption. To our
dismay this provision is not accommodated in the GLP.With regard to the tapping
of phones, the required permission is to be granted by Lokpal Bench under JLP
while under GLP approval of the Home Secretary is needed. So the next time you
spot Richie-Rich hobnobbing with the Home Secretary, do not be surprised if he
comes under the scanner and exits dirt-free. JLP intends to enact not only a
corruption-free legislation but also a fearless and secure platform for its citizens. It
is for this very reason, that protection is provided to the whistle-blowers, victims
and witnesses of corruption. It is indeed unfortunate to note that no such protection
is provided under GLP. According to the Government, protection for
whistleblowers is being provided through a separate law. But the said law is so
incompetent that it has been badly trashed by the Standing committee of the
Parliament itself last month. The much debated aspect of establishing a Lokayukya
at the State level which would probe into corruption cases of State level ministers,
MLAs and State Government officials has also gained victory after the government
nodded in approval for the inclusion of this provision in the GLP.
With corruption spreading its wings, even the NGOs have not been able to keep
themselves out of this ditch. Although JLP intends to bring only government-
funded NGOs under its ambit, the Government intends to have jurisdiction over all
the NGOs in the country, be it small or big, registered or unregistered. Delegation
of authority has been considered as the key for effective management worldwide.
A similar structure is also made under the JLP where Lokpal members will only
hear cases against senior officials and politicians or cases involving huge amounts
rest cases shall be heard by other officers of Lokpal. On the other hand, the GLP
provides that all work must be done by the 11 member team of Lokpal which is
likely to result in unnecessary piling up of cases.
The method of inquiry into the cases of corruption also differs in both the bills.
Under JLP, the method would be the same as provided in Criminal Procedure Code
(CrPC). After preliminary enquiry, an FIR will be registered. After investigations,
case will be presented before a court, where the trial will take place. On the
contrary GLP seeks to amend CrPC in order to provide special protection to the
accused. After preliminary enquiry, all evidence will be provided to the accused
and he shall be heard as to why an FIR should not be registered against him.
After completion of investigations, again all evidence will be provided to him and
he will be given a hearing to explain why a case should not be filed against him in
the court. Such a process would not only severely compromise all investigations
with easy availability of evidences at every stage but would also disclose the
identity of the whistleblowers thus threatening their security. Such a dim-witted
process is unheard of in criminal jurisprudence. Another heated point, which has
now received governments consent is the creation of a Citizens Charter, which
will specify which work to be done by which official and in how much time.
Violation of the Charter will attract a penalty and shall be deemed to be corruption.
In the light of the above mentioned differences and taking into consideration the
seriousness of growing corruption in our country, it is necessary to enact a
Draconian legislation rather than a feeble and toothless one. As citizens of the
largest functional democracy, it is our duty to not let the Government give any
false illusion of creating an anti-corruption law. We hope the Government sticks to
its promises for the inclusion of three crucial demands put forward by Camp Anna
as discussed earlier. Democracy is a system by the people, for the people and of the
people, and therefore today more than ever, the words of the Mahatma resound
loudly in every Indians heartbeat ..Be the change that you wish to see...