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―Is this democracy? All have come together to make money.‖ – Anna Hazare Bowing to nationwide protests in support of Hazare, the government convened a special parliament session Saturday. After hours of debate, the Indian Parliament embraced Hazare's three key demands: Lokayuktas in every state, citizen's charter in each government department and inclusion of lower bureaucracy under Lokpal. Background Rudyard Kipling once famously declared, "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." Kipling thought the cultural gap between the colonizers and the colonized was unbreachable, but India's sophisticated independence movement, uniting Oxbridge thinkers and mass protests, proved him wrong. To be sure, Kipling's axiom still echoes in India today — not for divides of geography, but class. Beneath the glitz of India's ebullient film industry or the sheen of chrome-and-glass IT centers, a vast, confusing and poor India lurches onward. It shares little with the country's jet-setting globalists, high-powered intellectuals or high-rolling industrialists. It knows more about enduring hardship than enhancing hardware. Yet, again in India, the twain do meet. Sixty years of freedom have bound all Indians, rich and poor, to a single commitment: democracy. But even the fiercest supporters of Indian democracy cannot ignore its dark underbelly. Corruption pervades all strata of society — Transparency International ranks India worse than countries like El Salvador and Bulgaria in the corruption stakes — mostly because the nation's bloated, unwieldy bureaucracies encourage it. In April 2011, The agitation led by Anna Hazare demanding the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill led to serious debates regarding India’s parliamentary democracy, civil society, roots of corruption etc. Three arms of the Indian Democracy The Judiciary of India is an independent body and is separate from the Executive and Legislative bodies of the Indian Government. The judicial system of India is stratified into
in case the president decides that the community is not adequately represented Executive: The President of India is the head of state elected indirectly by an electoral college for a five-year term. District Courts at the district level and Lok Adalats at the Village and Panchayat Level. The Supreme Court is functional from 28yh January 1950. A Supreme Court judge has to have a minimum 5 year experience a High Court to be eligible for the Supreme Court. Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial legislatures. The Supreme Court consists of The Chief Justice of India and is supported by 25 other judges. The President of India appoints the Chief Justice of India. High Courts are present in almost all sates and Union Territories of India. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in India. operating under a Westminsterstyle parliamentary system. They function under the Supreme Court. At the apex is the Supreme Court. The Judges of the Supreme Court exercise their power freely and when required. their numbers in proportion to their state's population. The remaining two members are nominated by the president from among the Anglo-Indian community. They have a lot of power in terms of deciding both civil and criminal cases.various levels. Legislature: The legislature of India is the bicameral parliament. two days after the constitution was enacted. has 245 members serving staggered six-year terms. The judiciary of India takes care of maintenance of law and order in the country along with solving problems related to civil and criminal offences. The Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution of the country and is the highest court of appeal. which is followed by High Courts at the state level. The judges in the High Court are appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Governor of the state and the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court is an independent body and free from anyone’s control. The Rajya Sabha. a permanent body. and comprising the upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the lower called the Lok Sabha (House of People). The Prime Minister of India is the head of government and exercises . The number of judges in High Court varies according to the number of cases it handles and the area it covers. Majority of the cases that they handle are passed on to them from the lower district courts. All but two of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote to represent individual constituencies for five-year terms.
In the Indian parliamentary system. there is delay and the complainants are often disturbed by this. they are free to accept or reject CVC’s advice. The executive branch of the Indian government consists of the president. Therefore. some of them being as big as Central Excise. and the council of ministers (the cabinet being its executive committee) headed by the prime minister. which are directly enquired into by the CVC. CVC mentions these cases of non-acceptance in its monthly reports and the Annual Report to Parliament. CVC and Departmental vigilance deal with vigilance (disciplinary proceedings) aspect of a corruption case and CBI deals with criminal aspect of that case. Railways. the prime minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament. such number is really small. Departmental vigilance and CBI. CVC can hardly be treated as an effective deterrent against corruption. However. While it monitors the progress of these complaints. it can only advise government. the executive is subordinate to the legislature. Central Government Departments seek CVC’s advice on various corruption cases. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of one of the houses of parliament. Even in those cases. . especially when it suspects motivated delays or where senior officials could be implicated. the vicepresident. CVC is merely an advisory body. It is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments and ministries. However.most executive power. it does not have adequate resources commensurate with the large number of complaints that it receives. there is Central Vigilance Commission. But given the constraints of manpower. Therefore. with the prime minister and his council directly responsible to the lower house of the parliament. Appointed by the president. Experience shows that CVC’s advice to initiate prosecution is rarely accepted and whenever CVC advised major penalty. CVC is a very small set up with a staff strength less than 200. In addition. It directly enquires into a few complaints on its own. it has to depend on the vigilance wings of respective departments and forwards most of the complaints for inquiry and report to them. and Income Tax etc. Central Vigilance Commission: CVC is the apex body for all vigilance cases in Government of India. it was reduced to minor penalty. Anti-corruption systems at Central Government level: At central Government level. But these are not much in focus in Parliamentary debates or by the media.
If there is an involvement of a politician in any case. CBI is under administrative control of DOPT rather than CVC. though the leader of the Opposition is a member of the Committee to select CVC and VCs. the officials below CVO are appointed/transferred by that department only. Since the officers . CVC does not have any really effective powers over them to seek compliance of its orders. CVC Act gives supervisory powers to CVC over CBI.CVC cannot direct CBI to initiate enquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above on its own. Besides. though CVC is relatively independent in its functioning. the final decision lies with the government. all the officers under him belong to the same department). CVC could bring pressure on the Department to revoke orders but again such recommendations are not binding. Many a times. There are several cases of serious corruption in which officials and political executive are involved together. Often it is seen that CVC forwards a complaint to a department and then keeps sending reminders to them to enquire and send report. the departments just do not comply. The appointments are opaque. Though the government does consult CVC before appointing the Chief Vigilance Officers of various departments. However. Therefore. CVC does not have powers to register criminal case. Departmental Vigilance Wings: Each Department has a vigilance wing. Only in exceptional cases. these supervisory powers have remained ineffective. CVC could at best bring it to the notice of the Government. However. It does not have any direct powers over departmental vigilance wings. which is manned by officials from the same department (barring a few which have an outsider as Chief Vigilance Officer. It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary matters. however. Appointments to CVC are directly under the control of ruling political party. Also. CVC does not have the power to call for any file from CBI or to direct them to do any case in a particular manner. it neither has resources nor powers to enquire and take action on complaints of corruption in a manner that meets the expectations of people or act as an effective deterrence against corruption. if the CVO chooses to bring it to the notice of CVC. The CBI has to seek the permission of that department. CVC does not have administrative control over officials in vigilance wings of various central government departments to which it forwards corruption complaints. But the Committee only considers names put up before it and that is decided by the Government. It does not have powers over politicians.
. Since the vigilance wing is directly under the control of the Head of that Department. There have been instances of the officials posted in vigilance wing by that department having had a very corrupt past. the vigilance wing of any department is seen to soft pedal on genuine complaints or used to enquire against "inconvenient" officers. So. still they have to be handled by those who otherwise report to him. CBI's credibility has suffered and there is increasing public perception that it cannot do a fair investigation and that it is influenced to to scuttle these cases. if some citizen complaints against that officer. Departmental vigilance does not investigate into criminal aspect of any case. CBI is directly under the administrative control of Central Government. It does not have the powers to register an FIR. the complaint is forwarded by all these agencies and it finally lands up in his own lap to enquire against himself. In some departments. Even if someone complaints against that officer to the CVC or to the Head of that Department or to any other authority. Again. it is impossible to enquire into that complaint because an officer who is in vigilance today might get posted under that senior officer some time in future. if a complaint pertains to any minister or politician who is part of a ruling coalition or a bureaucrat who is close to them. CBI: CBI has powers of a police station to investigate and register FIR. While in vigilance. They also do not have any powers against politicians. Therefore. where cases are closed for consideration. because CBI is directly under the control of Central Government. some officials double up as vigilance officials. If a complaint is received against a senior officer. It means that an existing official is given additional duty of vigilance also. It can investigate any case related to a Central Government department on its own or any case referred to it by any state government or any court. especially in the Ministries. it is practically impossible for them to be independent and objective while inquiring into complaints against their colleagues and seniors.in the vigilance wing of a department are from the same department and they can be posted to any position in that department anytime. the complaint is expected to be enquired into by the same officer. they try to scuttle all cases against themselves. it is practically impossible for them to enquire against senior officials of that department. So. CBI is overburdened and does not accept cases even where amount of defalcation is alleged to be around Rs 1 crore. They also turn vigilance wing into a hub of corruption. Even if he recuses himself from such inquiries.
The following are the principle functions of the Election Commission of India: 1. the decisions of the body are liable for independent judiciary reviews by courts acting on electoral petitions. CBI has powers but it is not independent. etc. however Election forces and the Police is deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission which takes effective control of personnel. Therefore. statutory professional bodies. such as Syndicates of Universities. 5. CVC is independent but it does not have sufficient powers or resources. The Election Commission of India The Election Commission enjoys complete autonomy and is insulated from any kind of executive interference.CBI is perceived to have been often used to settle scores against inconvenient politicians. However. Scrutiny of nomination papers. there isn’t a single anti-corruption agency which is effective and independent of the government. Recognition of Political parties and allotment of symbols. if a citizen wants to make a complaint about corruption by a politician or an official in the Central Government. Its recommendations and opinions are binding on the President of India. Apart from conducting elections to representative bodies. . The Election Commission is responsible for planning and executing a whole amount of complex operations that go into the conduct of elections. Preparation of Electoral Rolls. 3. Conduct of polls. called upon by the Courts to oversee and execute elections to various governing bodies of other autonomous organizations. 2. The body also functions as a quasi-judiciary body in matters of electoral disputes and other matters involving the conduct of elections. 4. the Election Commission has been on many occasions. Demarcation of Constituencies. movable and immovable Government Properties it deems necessary for successful completion of the electoral process. whose wrongdoings are sought to be investigated.
are supporting him in the hundreds swelling to the thousands. who has served in the Indian Army during difficult times. he received awards worth Rs 25 lakh and donated the entire amount for the Swami Vivekananda Kritadnyata Nidhi (social gratitude fund). mass marriages are carried of at least 25-30 poor couples every year. Hazare won various national awards during this period but he chose to return the Padmashree Award to the President of India and also returned the Vriksha Mitra Award given by then prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi. Anna Hazare Anna Hazare believes in the empowerment of the citizens of India. He has taken that fight to the corridors of power and challenged the government at the highest level. Today. Care International of the USA. Anna started a new venture in 1991 called Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) or public movement against corruption in Maharashtra. Finally.six of the ministers were forced to resign and more than 400 officers from different government offices were sent back to home. Transparency International. and a right to information crusader. He has gained his reputation after four decades of a non-violent yet effective campaign of resurrecting a barren village into an `ideal village’ model and empowering the faceless citizen through pioneering work on Right to Information Act. Hazare submitted the evidences to the government but the latter was reluctant to take action against all these officers as one of the ministers of the ruling party was involved in the scam. a social reformer. Scrutiny of election expenses of candidates. the government took action against the culprits. the common man and well-known personalities alike. Seoul (South Korea) also felicitated him. Out of the two lakh rupees received from the above amount. In order to fight corruption. . Apart from this. Hazare’s sustained campaign on this issue had a great effect . protect efficient government officers from frequent transfers and fight against the red tapism in government offices have also received accolades. Allegedly some 42 forest officers had duped the state government for crores of rupees through corruption in confederacy.6. Anna Hazare is the face of India's fight against corruption. He has an image of a brave soldier. He further went on an indefinite hunger strike in Alandi on the same issue. His efforts to empower grampanchayats. People.
However. . He further states that. Hazare travelled for more than 12. This has also resulted in offering social justice to the economically backward class. he fought from the front to have Right to Information (RTI) implemented. Hazare agitated for over eight months. This created havoc and people were duped for crores of rupees and did not have money for the marriages of their daughters or for medical treatment. This has prevented corruption on a large scale. ``The movement that we started many years back without a penny in wallet. preventing red-tapism and initiating the law of transfers.’’ The state government promoted opening of cooperative societies. Believing in the principles of cooperative sector. the directors of such societies devoured the money and failed to pay back the basic amount to the members of the societies. has spread its wings in all the 33 districts and 252 tehsils of the state. The result was that more than Rs 125 crore was recovered from defaulters and the members of such societies heaved a sigh of relief.000 Kms across the state creating awareness about the Act. LPG and pulses on ration card but the middlemen keep on gulping the subsidies of the same. the anti-corruption bill drafted by his team of crusaders. Our efforts made these necessities available to the poor. Hence. credit societies & urban banks. After the implementation of the RTI Act-2005. 400 crores is in the pipeline. Recovery of around Rs. the utmost lower class of the society invested their savings with such cooperative societies.Hazare realized that it was not enough to merely take action against fraudulent ministers or officers but to change the entire system that was studded with loopholes. From one battle to another in his war against corruption. Hence we have been instrumental in offering rights to local bodies like Gramsabha. he campaigned for the Right to Information Act. The Union Government keeps on making various schemes for poor people in availing kerosene. He is now fighting for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The Gandhian is soldiering on.
Likewise. a. an institution called Jan Lokpal should be set up. Their independence would be ensured through following measures: (i) Administrative independence They will be independent agencies like Central Election Commission. when Karnataka Lokayukta was created. we have institutions of . no politician or a bureaucrat will be able to interfere with its functioning. (ii) Financial independence Their expenses will be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India/State.Jan Lokpal Bill – A mandate for change It proposes that at the level of Central Government. Jan Lokayukta should be set up. b. Jan Lokpal will accept corruption complaints against Central government departments and Jan Lokayukta will accept complaints against departments of respective state government. all existing anti-corruption and vigilance agencies in the state were merged into Lokayukta. They will be provided whatever expenses they require. Single anti-corruption agency Anti-corruption branch of CBI. in each state. Comptroller and Auditor general of India and Supreme Court. Therefore. In 1986. CVC and departmental vigilance wings will be merged into Lokpal. state vigilance departments would be merged into Jan Lokayuktas. (iii) Manpower They will have powers to assess their manpower requirements and employ them either from existing government servants (who can come on deputation basis) or directly from the market. Presently. Independence of Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta would be completely independent of the governments. Each of these bodies will have 10 members and one Chairperson. Anti-Corruption Branch of Police.
They will have powers to start investigation or prosecution in any case. c. They neither have resources nor powers. They will be replaced with Jan Lokayuktas through Jan Lokpal Bills.Lokayuktas in 18 states. Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will also have powers to impose departmental penalties on bureaucrats. No more advisory bodies Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta will not be advisory bodies. For that. . they will not need permission from any government agency. They are advisory bodies.