Volume – 2, Issue - 3 www.bjpkaritcell.org www.bjpkaritcell.

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INDIA FIRST
Online News Magazine

Jun, 2011 May – Jun, 2011 itce itcell.bjpkar@bjp.org

JAN LOK PAL BILL
THE CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
“Corruption will be out one day, however much one may try to conceal it: and the public can as its right and duty, in every case of justifiable suspicion, call its servants to strict account, dismiss them, sue them in a law court, or appoint an arbitrator or inspector to scrutinize their conduct, as it likes.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1928)
INTRODUCTION :

India is a country where honesty and integrity in public and private life have been glorified and upheld in great epics such as the Vedas, Upanishads and in the books and practices of every religion practiced here. Yet, India today is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Bringing public servants under a scanner which makes them strictly accountable is the start of a movement against corruption in India. And one significant step in attacking the spectre of corruption in India will be the implementation of the lok pal bill. The Indian Lokpal is synonymous to the institution of Ombudsman existing in the Scandinavian countries. The office of the ombudsman originated in Sweden in 1809 A.D., and adopted eventually by many nations 'as a bulwark of democratic government against the tyranny of officialdom'. Ombudsman is a Swedish word that stands for "an officer appointed by the legislature to handle complaints against administrative and judicial action. Traditionally the ombudsman is appointed based on unanimity among all political parties supporting the proposal. The incumbent, though appointed by the legislature, is an independent functionary – independent of all the three organs of the state, but reports to the legislature. The Ombudsman can act both on The basis of complaints made by citizens, or suo moto. She/he can look into allegations of corruption as well as mal-administration.1 The functionary is called by different names in different countries; its power and functions also vary. In the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway) he is called the 'Ombudsman'. He can take cognizance of the citizens' grievance by either directly receiving complaints from the public or suo moto on the basis of information provided by the interested persons, or from newspapers, etc. However, in the U.K. the functionary - known as the Parliamentary Commissioner - can receive complains only through members of parliament. The ombudsmen can investigate a complaint by themselves or through any public or private agency. After investigation, in Sweden and Finland, the Ombudsman has the power to prosecute erring public servants; whereas in Denmark, he can only order prosecution. However, the power of prosecution is very rarely used.

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HISTORY
The misdeeds committed during the Emergency remind us of the necessity of including the PM within the purview of the Lokpal. The basic idea of the Lok Pal is borrowed from the office of ombudsman, which has played an effective role in checking corruption and wrong-doing in Scandinavian and other nations.3 In early 1960s, mounting corruption in public administration set the winds blowing in favour of an Ombudsman in India too. The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) set up in 1966 recommended the constitution of a two-tier machinery - of a Lokpal at the Centre, and Lokayukt(a)s in the states.4 The ARC while recommending the constitution of Lokpal was convinced that such an institution was justified not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of adversely affected citizens but also necessary to instill public confidence in the efficiency of administrative machinery. Following this, the Lokpal Bill was for the first time presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968, and was passed there in 1969. However, while it was pending in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved, resulting the first death of the bill. The bill was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and most recently in 2008. Each time, after the bill was introduced to the house, it was referred to some committee for improvements - a joint committee of parliament, or a departmental standing committee of the Home Ministry - and before the government could take a final stand on the issue the house was dissolved. There are as many as 17 states where the institution of Lokayukta has been constituted, beginning with Orissa in 1971. However the power, function and jurisdiction of Lokayuktas are not uniform in the country.

Renewed calls for a Jan Lokpal Bill arose over resentment of the major differences between the draft 2010 Lokpal Bill prepared by the government and the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by the members of this movement, N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement. This movement has also been joined by many people providing their support in Internet social media such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition to spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Swami Agnivesh and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev,many celebrities showed their public support through micro-blogging site Twitter which has received significant public support. The bill's backers consider existing laws too weak and insufficiently enforced to stop corruption COPYRIGHT © 2011 All rights reserved

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FEAUTRES KEY FEAUTRES IN THE PROPOSED BILL
1.To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level. 2.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. 3.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. 4.A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public. 5.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. 6.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. 7.Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction. 8.Government officework 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. 9.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. 10.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. 11.Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.

He will go on a fast unto death, Anna Hazare has declared! Let us say with our every breath, The corrupt will not be spared!! We demand the Jan Lokpal Bill, Will not settle for anything less! Let them not test our will, It is time our problems they redress!! COPYRIGHT © 2011 All rights reserved

All of us have come together, And protesting on every hour in unity! Sacrificing our meals for the future, We demand retribution for the guilty!! It is the Raj Ghat in Delhi, And the Freedom Park in Bangalore! Join the fast venue in your city, To show you care, and will not ignore!!

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ANNA HAZARE – THE LIVING CRUSADER AGAINST CORRUPTION

Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare known as Anna Hazare
Born 15 January 1940 Unmarried. Served as a Indian Soldier His tryst with the army came when many Indian soldiers became martyrs in the Indo-China War of 1962 and the Government of India had appealed to young Indians to join the Indian army. Being passionate about patriotism, he promptly responded to the appeal and joined the Indian Army in 1963. During his 15-year tenure as a soldier, he was posted to several states like Sikkim, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh and Ladakh and braved challenging weathers. Anna Hazare won the following awards – 1. Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra award by the Government of India on November 19, 1986 from the hands of Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi. 2. 1989 - Krishi Bhushana award by the Government of Maharashtra. 3. 1990 - Padmashri award, by the Government of India 4. 1992 - Padmabhushan award, by the Government of India 5. 2008 - On April 15 2008, Anna Hazare received the World Bank's 2008 Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service 6. Care International of the USA, Transparency International, Seoul (South Korea) 7. He received awards worth Rs 25 lakh and donated the entire amount for the Swami Vivekananda Kritadnyata Nidhi (social gratitude fund). Out of the two lakh rupees received from the above amount, mass marriages are carried of at least 25-30 poor couples every year. In 1991, Hazare launched the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) (People's Movement against Corruption), a popular movement to fight against corruption in Ralegan Siddhi. In the same year he protested against the collusion between 40 forest officials and the timber merchants. This protest resulted in the transfer and suspension of these officials. In May 1997, Hazare protested against the alleged malpractices in the purchase of powerlooms by the Vasantrao Naik Bhathya Vimukt Jamati Vikas Manch and the Mahatma Phule Magasvargiya Vikas Mandal. These institutions were directly under the charge of then Maharashtra Social Welfare minister Babanrao Gholap of the Shiv Sena, since their managing committees were dissolved after the Shiv Sena-BJP government came to power in the state in 1995. Hazare also raised the issue of alleged massive land purchase by Gholap's wife Shashikala in Nashik between April to September 1996. He forwarded the available documentary evidences in support of his allegations to then Maharashtra Governor In the early 2000s, Anna Hazare led a movement in Maharashtra state, which forced the Government of Maharashtra to repeal the earlier weak act and pass a stronger Maharashtra Right to Information Act. This Act was later considered as the base document for the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI), enacted by the Union Government. It also ensured that the President of India assented to this new Act.

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THE LOK PAL BILL DRAFTING COMMITTEE TEAM
Drafting Committee The drafting committee was officially formed on 8 April 2011. It consists of ten members, including five from the government and five drawn from society. Chairmen The Government of India accepted that the committee be co-chaired by a politician and an activist, non-politician. It is reported that Pranab Mukherjee, from the political arena, and Shanti Bhushan, from civil society, will fill those roles. Government Representation Five Cabinet ministers will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are: Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister, Co-Chairman; P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs; Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law and Justice; Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications and Information Technology; and Salman Khursid, Minister of Water Resources. Civil Society Representation Five leading social activists will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are: Shanti Bhushan, Former Minister of Law and Justice, Co-Chairman; Anna Hazare, Social Activist; Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer; N. Santosh Hegde, Lokayukta (Karnataka); Arvind Kejriwal, RTI Activist;

Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev to the Union government to arm the Jan Lokpal Bill with punitive powers. He said it would become another toothless agency like Lokayukta in the absence of such powers. Speaking at a 'Meet the Press' programme organised by Bangalore Press Club and Bangalore Reporter's Guild, Ramdev said the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill should not follow Lokayukta Act, which, according to him, is a toothless organisation. Since the Lokpal Bill was the first and a big step in curbing corruption, the government should arm it with sufficient powers, he demanded. The Lokpal should enjoy autonomous status like Supreme Court and there should not be any restrictions on common people to file FIR against the corrupt. This apart, the Lokpal should also have the power to recover money swindled by the corrupt and punish them with life imprisonment or death sentence, Ramdev said. He said even the prime minister should be brought under the purview of Lokpal. "I want the committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, and they should fight for powers to the Lokpal," Ramdev said COPYRIGHT © 2011 All rights reserved

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ATTITUDE UPA GOVERNMENT’S INDIFFERENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS LOKPAL
Talks on the Lokpal Bill are not progressing as expected and if the attitude of the government does not change it may spell disaster soon, said Prashant Bhushan, one of the five members of the Anna Hazare-led civil society group, who is on the drafting panel of the Bill. "I would not say that the talks have already reached a break point. Yes, there are serious differences between the people's representatives on the committee and their government counterparts. If the government representatives continue to obstruct the talks it is likely to head nowhere," he said. Asked why he was so pessimistic about the future of the talks, Bhushan said that the Bill, which the government planned to introduce in the next session of Parliament, was to include the prime minister under its purview. "But now they are backing out on that as well," he added. "Just because four or five members have written letters opposing the move to extend Lokpal's jurisdiction to the PMO, the attitude of the government representatives has changed substantially. So what is the point of continuing the talks," asked the activist lawyer. Reacting to Hazare's statement that he would hit the streets again if there was a breakdown in talks, Bhushan said the government would be responsible if such a situation were to arise. Asked why the civil society members wanted to become an extra-constitutional authority while the government maintained that the Constitution of India is supreme, he replied, "We do not want to become an extra-constitutional authority. This is an image that is being portrayed by the government." Talks between government and Anna Hazare-led civil society failed to make headway and the two sides to agreed to meet again on June 20 and 21 to bridge "strong divergence" of opinion. In view of the differences over various elements of the proposed Lokpal Bill, it was decided at the two-and-half hour meeting of the joint drafting committee that a note will be sent to the Union Cabinet by June 30, carrying versions of both the sides. The Anna Hazare-led civil society members suggested that Lokpal should be empowered top probe corruption cases against officials doing away with the practice of conducting departmental probe along with a CBI enquiry. However, the government members rejected. The other issue discussed in the meeting was the structure of Lokpal. The Hazare team proposed a 11-member independent anticorruption watchdog with subordinates having powers while the government side differed arguing that only 11 members be empowered to take decisions. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the committee will again meet on June 20 and 21 in an attempt to bridge differences. "It is clear there are areas where there are strong divergence of opinion...Hopefully the civil society members will give us a draft on issues of divergence. We ourselves will prepare a draft on the issues on which we think there are divergence and we will try and arrive at a consensus. "If no consensus is not arrived, then we will forward a draft bill with both versions so that the Cabinet can take a view," he said. The process will be completed by June 30. Claiming that nothing could be achieved from today's meeting, activist Arvind Kejriwal said, "the government is trying to kill the Lokpal even before it is born."

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