Lokpal Bill Essay In Marathi

Not to be confused with The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, an anti-corruption Act passed by the parliament of India.

The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as the Citizen's Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-corruption bill drawn up by civil society activists in India seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body to investigate corruption cases.[1] This bill also proposes improvements to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011,[2] which was to be passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011.[3]

The Jan Lokpal aims to effectively deter corruption, compensate citizen grievances, and protect whistle-blowers. The prefix Jan (translation: citizens) signifies that these improvements include inputs provided by "ordinary citizens" through an activist-driven, non-governmental public consultation.[4]

The word Lokpal was coined in 1963 by L. M. Singhvi, a member of parliament during a debate.

To draw the attention of the government, a focused campaign "India Against Corruption" (IAC) was started in 2011. Anna Hazare is the head of civil society and the IAC movement. Being a foreground for Jan Lokpal campaign. Through these collaborative efforts till August 2011, IAC was able to upload the 23rd version of the Jan Lokpal Bill draft.[5] As of January 2014, the Delhi State Government led by CM Arvind Kejriwal was preparing to adopt the Jan Lokpal Bill, but was unable to introduce it to the house, resigning moments later.[6]

Lokpal Bill[edit]

The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Adv. Shanti Bhushan in 1968[7] and passed by the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill lapsed.[8] Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008,[9] but none of them were passed.

In 2012 during the Parliament's Winter Session, the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Lokpal Bill, but could not be passed by Rajya Sabha due to shortage of time in the winter session of 2011. The Government tabled the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha on 13 December 2013 and the debate was adjourned till 16 December 2013. The Lokpal Bill was finally passed on 17 December 2013 in the Rajya Sabha.[10] It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 18 December 2013.[11]

Timeline and cost[edit]

The Lokpal Bill has been introduced in the Parliament a total of eleven times since 1968.

  • 1968 – ₹ 2 lakh[12]
  • 1971 – ₹ 30 lakh
  • 1977 – ₹ 27 lakh
  • 1985 – ₹ 25 lakh
  • 1989 – ₹ 35 lakh – PM under lokpal
  • 1996 – ₹ 1 crore – PM under lokpal
  • 2001 – ₹ 35 crore – PM under lokpal
  • 2011 – ₹ 17 billion[12]
  • 2012 – ₹ 20.50 billion[12]
  • 2013 – ₹ 21 billion[12]
  • 2014 – ₹ 29 billion[12]

Current anti-corruption laws and organisations[edit]

Main article: Corruption in India § Anti-Corruption Laws in India

While India currently has a number of laws intended to stem corruption, supporters of the Jan Lokpal Bill have argued that the current laws are inadequate in light of the large number and size of scandals in India.

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)[edit]

Main article: Central Vigilance Commission

CVC has a staff strength of between 200 and 250 employees.[13] If one went by international standards, India needs 28,500 anti-corruption staff in CVC to check corruption of 5.7 million employees.[14]

There has been considerable delay in many cases for grant of sanction for prosecution against corrupt government officials. The permission to prosecute such officials acts as a deterrent in the drive to eradicate corruption and bring transparency in the system.[15]

Central Bureau of Investigation[edit]

Main article: Central Bureau of Investigation

Independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations.

Inspiration[edit]

The bill was inspired by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).[16][17] In the 1970s, the level of corruption in Hong Kong was seen so high,[citation needed] that the government created the commission with direct powers to investigate and deal with corruption. In the first instance, the ICAC sacked 119 out of 180 police officers.[where?][citation needed][18]

Key features of proposed bill[edit]

Some important features of the proposed bill are:[1]

  1. To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
  2. As is the case with the Supreme Court of India 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 short-listed candidates for interviews, the video recordings of which will thereafter be made public.
  1. Inquiry has to be completed within 60 days and investigation to be completed within six months. Lokpal shall order an investigation only after hearing the public servant.
  2. Losses to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
  1. Whistle-blowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection.

Efforts for setting up of Lokpal[edit]

The Lokpal and Lokayuktaa Bill was introduced in Fourth Lok Sabha in 1968. It was passed by Lok Sabha in 1968, while the Bill was pending in Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently the Bill collapsed. The Bill was presented several times in the Parliament (in 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, and 2001) but the Bill collapsed each time and failed to come into effect.

A modified form of the Bill was introduced in 2011 which ultimately got passed in December 2013 and formed The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 .

Difference between government's and activists' drafts[edit]

Highlights[edit]

Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill)Draft Lokpal Bill (2010)
Lokpal wil have the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a role limited to forwarding reports to a "Competent Authority".
Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs.Lokpal will have no police powers and no ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal investigations.
Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body.The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected.
Punishments will be a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.Punishment for corruption will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 7 years.

Details[edit]

The following table details differences between the Government and activist backed versions.[20][21][22]

Comparison SlideShow uploaded by India Against Corruption.[23]

IssueThe Jan Lokpal Bill[5]Government's Lokpal Bill[2]
PMPM can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][20]PM can be investigated by Lokpal after she/he vacates office.[24]
judiciaryCan be investigated, though high level members may be investigated only with permission of a seven-member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][20]Judiciary is exempt and will be covered by a separate "judicial accountability bill".[21]
Conduct of MPsCan be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[clarification needed][20]Can be investigated, but their conduct within Parliament, such as voting, cannot be investigated.[21]
Lower bureaucracyAll public servants would be included.[21]Only senior officers (Group A) will be covered.[21]
Anti-Corruption wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)The Anti-Corruption wing of the CBI will be merged into the Lokpal.[21]The Anti-Corruption wing of the CBI cannot be merged into the Lokpal.[20]
Removal of Lokpal members and ChairAny person can bring a complaint to the Supreme Court, who can then recommend removal of any member to the President.[20]Any "aggrieved party" can raise a complaint to the President, who will refer the matter to the CJI.[20]
Removal of Lokpal staff and officersComplaints against Lokpal staff will be handled by independent boards set-up in each state, composed of retired bureaucrats, judges, and civil society members.[20]Lokpal will conduct inquiries into its own behaviour.[20]
LokayuktaLokayukta and other local/state anti-corruption agency would remain in place.[21]All state anti-corruption agencies would be closed and responsibilities taken over by centralised Lokpal.[21]
Whistleblower protectionWhistleblowers are protected by Lokpal.[20]No protection granted to whistleblowers by Lokpal.[20]
Punishment for corruptionLokpal can either directly impose penalties, or refer the matter to the courts. Penalties can include removal from office, imprisonment, and recovery of assets from those who benefited from the corruption.[20]Lokpal can only refer matters to the courts, not take any direct punitive actions. Penalties remain equivalent to those in current laws.[20]
Investigatory powersLokpal can obtain wiretaps (to make a connection to a telegraph or telephone wire to obtain information secretly), issue rogatory letters, and recruit investigating officers. Cannot issue contempt orders.[20]Lokpal can issue contempt orders, and has the ability to punish those in contempt. No authority to obtain wiretaps, issue rogatory letters, or recruit investigating officers.[20]
False, frivolous and vexatious complaintsLokpal can issue fines for frivolous complaints (including frivolous complaints against Lokpal itself), with a maximum penalty of Rs 100,000.[20]Court system will handle matters of frivolous complaints. Courts can give 2–5 years imprisonment and fines of Rs 25,000 to 200,000.[23]
NGOsNGOs not within the scope due to their role in exposing corruption.[22]NGOs are within the scope and can be investigated.[22]

Governments approach about Whistleblower protection & Citizen-charter[edit]

In a bid to narrow differences on the anti-graft legislation and provide itself some political cover against the threat of a public protest, the Government introduced Citizen's Charter and Grievance Redressal Bill 2011 or Citizen-charter bill in 20 Dec 2011 along with the already introduced Whistleblower Protection Law or Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Information) Bill – 2010 back in August 2011.[25]

Responding to this move, Team Anna issued a statement that: "The government proposes to remove CBI, judiciary, citizen charter, whistle blower protection, Group C and Group D employees from the Lokpal jurisdiction. Wouldn't that reduce Lokpal to an empty tin box with no powers and functions?".[26] This issue remains open between Team Anna & Government.

Campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill[edit]

Main article: 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement

Main article: 2011 Lokpal Roundtable

The first version of the Lokpal Bill drafted by the Government of India headed by United Progressive Alliance in 2010 was considered ineffective by anti-corruption activists from the civil society.[27] These activists, under the banner of IAC, came together to draft a citizen's version of the Lokpal Bill later called the Jan Lokpal.[27] Public awareness drives[28] and protest marches[27] were carried out to campaign for the bill. However, public support for the Jan Lokpal Bill draft started gathering steam after Anna Hazare, a Gandhian announced that he would hold an indefinite fast from 5 April 2011 for the passing of the Lokpal/ Jan Lokpal bill.[29][30] The government has however accepted it.

To dissuade Hazare from going on an indefinite hunger strike, the Office of the Prime Minister directed the personnel and law ministries to see how the views of social activists can be included in the bill.[31] On 5 April, the National Advisory Council rejected the Lokpal bill drafted by the government. Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal then met social activists Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal on 7 April to find ways to bridge differences over the bill.[32] However, no consensus could be reached on 7 April owing to several differences of opinion between the social activists and the Government.

Fast & agitation – Phase 1[edit]

On 7 April 2011 Anna Hazare called for a Jailemands.[33] Anna Hazare also claimed that his group had received six crore (60 million) text messages of support[34] and that he had further backing from a large number of Internet activists. The outpouring of support was largely free of political overtones; political parties were specifically discouraged from participating in the movement.[35] The fast ended on 9 April, after 98 hours, when the Government accepted most demands due to public pressure. Anna Hazare set a deadline, 15 August, for the passing of the bill in the Parliament,[36] failing which he would start a hunger strike from 16 August. The fast also led to the Government of India agreeing to set up a joint Drafting Committee, which would complete its work by 30 June 2011.[36]

Lokpal round table by Dr.Jayaprakashnarayan of the Loksatta FDR (Foundation for Democratic Reforms)[edit]

Foundation of Democratic reforms led by Dr.Jayaprakashnarayan of Loksatta has organised a round table conference on 24 April. List of Attendees.

  1. Justice MN Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India
  2. Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India
  3. Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Supreme Court Judge & Karnataka Lokayukta
  4. Justice Rajindar Sachar, Former Chief Justice – High Court of Delhi
  5. Sri N Gopalaswami, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India
  6. Sri TS Krishnamurthy, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India
  7. Sri Pratyush Sinha, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner
  8. Sri PS Ramamohan Rao, Former Governor Tamil Nadu
  9. Sri C Anjaneya Reddy, Former DGP Andhra Pradesh
  10. Sri Ashok Arora, Advicate & former Secretary Supreme Court Bar Association
  11. Sri Ashwin Mahesh, an innovator, professor at IIM Bangalore, Urban Strategy advisor for Govt. of Karnataka
  12. Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist, Parivartan
  13. Sri P.S. Bawa, Chairman, Transparency International India
  14. Dr Bhaskar Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies
  15. Dr. Ramaswami Balasubramaniam, Founder, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement
  16. Smt Devaki Jain, formerly professor at the Delhi University
  17. Sri K.N. Govindacharya, Thinker and Ideologue
  18. Dr Jayaprakash Narayan (Lok Satta), general secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms & Founder of Lok Satta
  19. Dr Kamal Kumar, former Director, National Police Academy
  20. Sri Karthik Chandra, Research Coordinator, FDR
  21. Smt Kiran Bedi, Social Activist & Former Police Office
  22. Sri Kuldip Nayar, Noted Journalist
  23. Sri BR Lal, Former DGP Haryana and Jt. Director CBI
  24. Ms Maja Daruwala, director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  25. Ms Madhu Kishwar, a leading feminist, and editor of Manushi (a journal devoted to human rights and women's rights issues)
  26. Sri Mazer Hussain, Director COVA, Hyderabad
  27. Sri Manish Sisodia, RTI Activist, Parivartan
  28. Sri Nikhil Dey, Social Activist, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan,Rajasthan
  29. Sri Prakash Singh, Formerly Director General BSF, DGP UP and Assam,
  30. Ms Padma Bhupathiraju, People for Lok Satta (USA)
  31. Sri Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Advocate
  32. Sri Parth J. Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society
  33. Sri P S Ramamohan Rao, Former Governor Tamil Nadu
  34. Sri R Ramaswamy Iyer, former Secretary, Water Resources, Govt of India
  35. Prof. Rajani Ranjan Jha, Prof. Political Science, Banaras Hindu University
  36. Sri TR Raghunandan, former Secretary, Govt of Karnataka
  37. Dr. Trinath Mishra, Former Director, CBI
  38. Sri Soli Sorabjee, Former Attorney General of India
  39. Shri Shanti Bhushan, Former Union Law Minister and well known Supreme Court Advocate
  40. Sri Sanjay Parikh, Supreme Court Advocate
  41. Sri Subhash C Kashyap, Member of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution and Chairman of its Drafting and Editorial Committee.
  42. Sri Sudesh Agarwal, President of Smast Bhartiya Party
  43. Sri K C Sivaramakrishnan, Former Secretary to Government of India
  44. Sri Surendra Srivastava, board member, Foundation for Democratic Reforms & Founder of Lok Satta and Lok Satta Party in Maharashtra an in charge of promoting Lok Satta Aandolan/ Party across India
  45. Sri R Sreenivasan, Former Chief Secretary of Punjab
  46. Sri Swami Agnivesh, Social reformer
  47. Sri Shanmughan, social activist Ref – 103 & 104

Drafting committee[edit]

The drafting committee was officially formed on 8 April 2011. It consisted of the following ten members, including five from the government and five drawn from the civil society.[37][38] The former Minister of the Law and Justice is part of the drafting committee.

The Government's handling of the formation of the draft committee, involving the civil society in preparation of the draft Lokpal bill, was criticised by various political parties including Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (U) and Samajwadi Party.[39][40]

The committee failed to agree on the terms of a compromise bill and the government introduced its own version of the bill in the Parliament in August 2011.[41]

Fast & agitation – Phase 2[edit]

According to Anna and his team, the Government's version of the Lokpal bill was weak and would facilitate the corrupt to go free apart from several other differences. To protest against this, Anna Hazare announced an "Indefinite Fast" (not to be confused with "Fast until death"). Anna and his team asked for permission from Delhi Police for their fast and agitation at Jantar Mantar or JP Park. Delhi Police gave its permission with certain conditions. These conditions were considered by team Anna as restrictive and against the fundamental constitutional rights and they decided to defy the conditions. Delhi Police imposed Sec 144 CrPC.[42][43]

On 16 August, Anna Hazare was taken into preventive custody by Delhi Police. Senior officers of Delhi Police reached Anna Hazare's flat early in the morning and informed him that he could not leave his home. However, Hazare turned down the request following which he was detained.Anna in his recorded address to the nation before his arrest asked his supporters not to stop the agitation and urged the protesters to remain peaceful.Other members of IAC – Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Kumar Vishwas and Manish Sisodia – were also taken into preventive custody. Kiran Bedi described the situation as resembling a kind of Emergency (referring to the State of Emergency imposed in 1975 by the Indira Gandhi Govt.).[43] The arrest resulted in a huge public outcry and under pressure, the government released him in the evening of 16 August. However, Anna Hazare refused to come out of jail, starting his indefinite fast from Jail itself. Manish Sisodia explained his situation as, "Anna said that he left home to go to JP Park to conduct his fast and that is exactly where he would go from here (Tihar Jail). He has refused to be released till he is given a written, unconditional permission". Unwilling to use forces owing to the sensitive nature of the case, the jail authorities had no option but to let Anna spend the night inside Tihar. Later on 17 August, Delhi Police permitted Anna Hazare and team to use the Ramlila Maidan for the proposed fast and agitation, withdrawing most of the contentious provisions they had imposed earlier.[44] The indefinite fast and agitation began in Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi, and went on for around 288 hours (12 days from 16 August-2011 to 28 August-2011).[45] Some of the Lokpal drafting committee members became dissatisfied with Hazare's tactics as the hunger strike went on for the 11th day: Santosh Hegde, a member of Hazare team who headed the Karnataka Lokayukta, strongly criticised Hazare for his insistence of "having his way", concluding "I feel I am not in Team Anna any more by the way things are going. These (telling Parliament what to do) are not democratic things."[46] Swami Agnivesh, another central figure in the Hazare group also distanced himself.[47]

Notable supporters and opposition[edit]

In addition to the activists responsible for creating and organising support for the bill, a wide variety of other notable individuals have also stated that they support this bill. Spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar[48] and Yog Guru Ramdev[49] expressed support. Notable politicians who indicated support for the bill include Ajit Singh[50] and Manpreet Singh Badal[51] as well as the principal opposition party, Bharatiya Janta Party.[52][53] In addition, numerous Bollywood actors, directors, and musicians publicly approved of the bill.[54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]

Notable opposition to the activists' version of the Bill was expressed by HRD minister Kapil Sibal and other Congress leaders; Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee; Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal leader Prakash Singh Badal; Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Jagdish Sharan Verma.[62] Although Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) showed their support earlier, there were reports that BJP shared Congress's concern "over letting the civil society gain the upper hand over Parliament in lawmaking".[63] The All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, representing the Dalits and backward castes, also expressed opposition to the bill proposed by Anna Hazare as well as to the government's version of the bill. The confederation opposed Hazare's proposed bill saying that it will be above the constitution and that proposers of the bill have support from elements who oppose reservation.[64]

Logjam of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011[edit]

On 27 December 2011, Lok Sabha Parliament winter session passed controversial Lokpal Bill under title of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011,[2] but without constitutional status. Before passing this bill it was introduced in Lok Sabha with key amendments moved. The 10-hour house debate, number of opposition parties claimed introduced bill is weak and wanted it withdrawn. Key amendments that were discussed but defeated were following:

  • Including corporates, media and NGOs receiving donations
  • Bringing CBI under the purview of Lokpal

Amendments that the house agreed upon were:

  • Keeping the defence forces and coast guard personnel out of the purview of the anti-graft ombudsman
  • Increasing the exemption time of former MPs from five to seven years[3]

Team Anna rejected the proposed bill describing it as "anti-people and dangerous" even before the Lok Sabha gave its assent.[65] The key notes Team Anna made about rejection were:

  • Government will have all the control over Lokpal as it will have powers to appoint and remove members at its will.
  • Only 10 per cent political leaders are covered by this Bill
  • Bill was also covering temples, mosques and churches
  • Bill was offering favour to corruption accused by offering them free lawyer service.
  • Bill was also unclear about handling corruption within Lokpal office.
  • Only five per cent of employees are in its ambit, as Class C & D officers were not included.

Team Anna was also disappointed over following inherent exclusions within tabled government bill.[66]

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be merged with the Lokpal, and the anti-corruption bureaus and the Vigilance Departments of the State governments with the Lokayuktas.
  • The Lokpal and the Lokayuktas should have their own investigative wings with exclusive jurisdiction over cases filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The Lokpal should have administrative and financial control over the CBI, and the appointment of the CBI Director should be independent of any political control.
  • The jurisdiction of the Lokpal and the Lokayukta should cover Class C and D officers directly.

This bill was then presented in Rajya Sabha where it hit log jam again.[67]

Criticisms of the Jan Lokpal Bill[edit]

Naïve approach[edit]

The bill has been criticised as being naïve in its approach to combating corruption. According to Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President of the Center for Policy Research Delhi,[68] the bill "is premised on an institutional imagination that is at best naïve; at worst subversive of representative democracy". The very concept of a Lokpal concept has received criticism from ex Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal in that it will lack accountability, be oppressive and undemocratic.[69]

[edit]

Kejriwal rejects the claim of Lokpal being extra-constitutional with the explanation that the body will only investigate corruption offences and submit a charge sheet which would then tried and prosecuted through trial courts and higher courts, and that other bodies with equivalent powers in other matters exist. The proposed bill also lists clear provisions for the Supreme Court to abolish the Lokpal.[70]

Despite these clarifications, critics feel that the exact judicial powers of Lokpal are rather unclear in comparison with its investigative powers. The bill[71] requires "...members of Lokpal and the officers in investigation wing of Lokpal shall be deemed to be police officers". Although some supporters have denied any judicial powers of Lokpal,[72] the government and some critics have recognised Lokpal to have quasi-judicial powers.[73]

The bill also states that "Lokpal shall have, and exercise the same jurisdiction powers and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High court has and may exercise, and, for this purpose, the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (Central Act 70 of 1971) shall have the effect subject to the modification that the references therein to the High Court shall be construed as including a reference to the Lokpal."[74][75][76] Review of proceedings and decisions by Lokpal is prevented in the bill by the statement "...no proceedings or decision of the Lokpal shall be liable to be challenged, reviewed, quashed or called in question in any court of ordinary Civil Jurisdiction.". As a result, how the trials will be conducted is unclear in the bill, although the bill outlines requiring judges for special courts, presumably to conduct trial that should be completed within one year. The critics hence express concern that, without judicial review, Lokpal could potentially become an extra-constitutional body with investigative and judicial powers whose decisions cannot be reviewed in regular courts.[77]

Scope[edit]

The matter of whether the Indian Prime Minister and higher judiciary should or should not be prosecutable by the Lokpal remains as one of the major issues of dispute. Anna's own nominee for co-chairing the joint panel Justice Verma, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has expressed his constitutional objections for including the Prime Minister and higher judiciary under Lokpal.[78] According to him, "this would foul with the basic structure of the constitution".[79]

Criticism from Aruna Roy, Arundhati Roy and NCPRI[edit]

Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy who has said "Vesting jurisdiction over the length and breadth of the government machinery in one institution will concentrate too much power in the institution, while the volume of work will make it difficult to carry out its tasks". She and her colleagues at the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) have proposed an alternative mechanism consisting of five institutions.[80] Noted author and social activist Arundhati Roy was highly critical of Lokpal, stating "you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common – they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State", and "While his means may be Gandhian, Anna Hazare's demands are certainly not. Contrary to Gandhiji's ideas about the decentralisation of power, the Jan Lokpal Bill is a draconian, anti-corruption law, in which a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy,.."[81][82][83]

Criticism from the Director of CBI[edit]

The CBI in a presentation before the Standing Committee of the Parliament, has strongly argued against the vivisection of the CBI and merger of its anticorruption wing with the Lokpal, noting that this would seriously cripple the core functioning of the CBI and reduce it to irrelevance. An organisation built over last 60 years comprising competent professionals should not be subsumed under Lokpal. CBI officers concede that in some sensitive political cases there is of course interference from the government, but in respect of an overwhelming majority of cases CBI functions, unfettered and uninfluenced by extraneous considerations. For this reason there is an ever-increasing demand for CBI investigation from all over the country in respect of important cases.[84]

However, in a contradictory TOI article in August 2011, it has been revealed that one its own report says that the CBI is still finding itself waiting for a go-ahead from central agencies so that it can initiate criminal proceedings against high-ranking officials.[85]

Support for the bill[edit]

Surveys[edit]

IAC conducted a survey on the draft Lokpal Bill presented by the Indian Government in Parliament. It showed that 85% of the participants were opposed to the government's bill. The team especially cited the results from the Chandni Chowk constituency, the constituency of Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who is a vehement voice for the government's version of the bill.[86][87]

According to a nationwide survey conducted by CNN-IBN & CNBC-TV18 and published in early August, only a shade over a third of respondents have heard of Lokpal. 34% of all respondents said they have heard of the ombudsman and only 24% knew what it actually meant[88]

Prashant Bhushan, one of Anna Hazare's associates and a drafter of the Jan Lokpal Bill, has demanded a nationwide referendum on the Jan Lokpal Bill to gauge the mood of the nation.[89]

Legislator support[edit]

Post the massive support to Anna Hazare's movement, several MPs across party lines have come out in support to the Jan Lokpal Bill. Most notable are Congress MPs from Maharashtra, Priya Dutt and Datta Meghe.[90][91] Datta Meghe also demanded that his party spokesperson Manish Tiwari should apologise to Anna Hazare for his uncharitable comments.[90]

This support started coming as over 150 MPs and Ministers from different states were forced to remain confined to their houses as Anna supporters protested outside their houses. Protests were also seen outside the residence of Sheila Dikshit Ex-CM of Delhi, Kapil Sibal, Pranab Mukherjee amongst others.[90][91][92]

BJP MP Varun Gandhi is introducing Jan Lokpal Bill as a private member's bill in the parliament.[93]

Social media[edit]

As per reports, Anna Hazare's fast was successful in mobilising the support of thousands in the virtual world of social media. On Independence Day, Anna had over 500,000 mentions through status updates and comments across top social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter in the country. Two days later, the number had shot up to 9 million. On YouTube, over 40,000 people watched the video shot by Kiran Bedi inside Tihar Jail in which Anna has addressed his supporters. Facebook has 542 fan pages by Anna's name.[94][95] A portal www.iacbranding.org has also been launched by the IAC activists to provide design logistics for movement's publicity as banner, poster, handbill to be used by the IAC Activists all over India and abroad.[96]

Online surveys[edit]

  • According to the survey conducted by STAR News and Nielsen, 87% of the 8900 respondents of the survey supported the Jan Lokpal Bill. The survey – conducted in 28 cities across the country, including all four metros – mainly dealt with three important points: public’s knowledge about the Lokpal Bill; awareness about Anna’s campaign; and the perceived problems with the Jan Lokpal Bill.[97]
  • Over a million people joined the Times of India online anti-graft campaign, in one of the biggest ever voting exercises in the virtual world. The news analysis points that citizens want to make their voices heard and have found the platform offered by the campaign a viable one to do so.[98]

Parliamentary actions on the proposed legislation[edit]

On 27 August 2011, a special session of Parliament was conducted, and a resolution was unanimously passed after consideration in both the houses of Indian Parliament by sense of the house.[99][100]

The resolution, in principle, agreed on the following subjects and forwarded the bill to a related standing committee for structure and to finalise a report:[101][102][103][104]

  • A citizen charter on the bill
  • An appropriate mechanism to subject lower bureaucracy to Lokpal
  • The establishment of Lokayuktas (ombudsmen at state level) in states

Hazare welcomed this development, terming it as a battle "half won" while ending the protest.[101]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Hindi Sign at Ramlila Grounds: "We eat to live, they live to eat, we do not even receive clean drinking water, yet they drink our blood"

This article is about The Lokpal Act, 2013. For Lokpal, an article containing general purpose definition and the Jan Lokpal Bill in particular, see Lokpal. For Jan Lokpal Bill, a draft anti-corruption bill written by the civil society group, India Against Corruption, see Jan Lokpal Bill.

This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December 2013)

Legislative history
Title:The Lokpal Bill, 2011 (Lok Sabha)[2]
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 (Rajya Sabha)[3]
History:Introduced in Lok Sabha on 4 August 2011.[4]

Referred to The Parliament's Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice on 8 August 2011.[5]

Re-introduced in Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011.[6]

Passed by Lok Sabha on 27 December 2011.[7]

Introduced in Rajya Sabha on 29 December 2011.[8]

Re-introduced in Rajya Sabha on 21 May 2012.[9]

Referred to The Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on 21 May 2012.[10]

The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 and in the Lok Sabha on 18 December 2013.[11]

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, commonly known as The Lokpal Act, is an anti-corruption Act of Indian Parliament in India which "seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connecting them".[12]

The Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011 and was passed by the House on 27 December as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011. It was subsequently tabled in the Rajya Sabha on 29 December. After a marathondebate that stretched until midnight of the following day, the vote failed to take place for lack of time.[13] On 21 May 2012, it was referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for consideration. It was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 after making certain amendments to the earlier Bill and in the Lok Sabha the next day.[11] It received assent from President Pranab Mukherjee on 1 January 2014 and came into force from 16 January.[14][15]

The Bill was introduced in the parliament following massive public protests led by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his associates.[16] The Bill is one of the most widely discussed and debated Bills in India, both by the media and the People of India at large, in recent times.[17] The protests were named among the "Top 10 News Stories of 2011" by the magazine Time.[18][19] The bill received worldwide media coverage.[20][21][22]

In 2011, India ranked 95th in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. A recent survey estimated that corruption in India had cost billions of dollars and threatened to derail growth.[23][24][25] India lost a staggering $462 billion in illicit financial flows due to tax evasion, crime and corruption post-Independence, according to a report released by Washington-based Global Financial Integrity.[26]

As of February 2018, and ever since the related Act of Parliament was passed in India, The Indian Government is yet to appoint a Lokpal.

Background[edit]

The term Lokpal was coined in 1963 by Laxmi Mall Singhvi, a member of parliament during a parliamentary debate about grievance mechanisms.[27] The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted an interim report on "Problems of Redressal of Citizen's Grievances" in 1966. In this report, ARC recommended the creation of two special authorities designated as 'Lokpal' and 'Lokayukta' for redress of citizens' grievances. The word was derived from the Sanskrit words "Lok" (people) and "Pala" (protector/caretaker), meaning 'Caretaker of People'.[28]

Maharashtra was the first state to introduce Lokayukta through The Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in 1971.[29][30] Presently, there are no Lokayuktas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.

The Lokpal bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1968. The version enacted in 2013 was from a draft prepared in 2010.[31] The bill is an implementation of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.[32] Eleven parliamentary panels have been formed to discuss the Lokpal bill.[33]

YearCost of lokpal (recurring)Status of bill
1968Rs. 300,000The Fourth Lok Sabha dissolved before the bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha. The bill lapsed.
1971Rs. 2 millionThis bill lapsed on dissolution of the Fifth Lok Sabha.
1977Rs. 2.5 millionThe Sixth Lok Sabha dissolved just before the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee could be considered.
1985Rs. 2.5 millionThis bill was withdrawn by the government.
1989Rs. 3.5 millionThis bill lapsed on dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha.
1996Rs. 10 millionThe Standing Committee presented its report to Parliament on 9 May 1996. However, the Lok Sabha was dissolved before government could finalise its stand.
1998Rs. 10 millionThe Twelfth Lok Sabha was dissolved before government could take a view on the recommendations made by The Parliamentary Standing Committee.
2001Rs. 15 millionThe Lok Sabha was dissolved. Hence, the bill lapsed.
2011/2012The Government's version of Lokpal does not have any financial memorandum.Passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 17 December 2013. Lok sabha passed the bill on 18 December 2013.

History[edit]

2010 draft bill[edit]

The 2010 draft[35] was created by the United Progressive Alliance to create an Ombudsman tasked with tackling political corruption.[36] The draft was circulated to various ministries for their review. It provided a mechanism for filing complaints against the prime minister, ministers and MPs.[37] However, civil society groups were not and rejected it as a toothless body with only recommendatory powers.[38][39]

Hazare started an indefinite hunger strike on 5 April 2011 to pressure the government to create an ombudsman with the power to deal with corruption in public places as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill. The fast led to nationwide protests in support. The fast ended on 9 April, one day after the government accepted his demands.[40] The government issued a gazette notification on the formation of a joint committee, consisting of government and civil society representatives, to draft the legislation.[41]

Joint draft bill[edit]

A Joint Drafting Committee was established, consisting of five ministers and five members of the civil society. The chairman of the Joint Drafting Committee was Pranab Mukherjee. The Committee set 30 June 2011 as the deadline to complete the drafting process.[42][43]

First draft meeting[edit]

The Committee first met on 16 April 2011, in the North Block and lasted for about ninety minutes.[44]Team Anna presented their version of the bill with a slight modification relating to the selection panel to choose the Lokpal and its members. Under the revised proposal, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha were replaced with the Rajya Sabha chairman and the Lok Sabha Speaker. The meeting was allegedly recorded and the Committee claimed that decisions would be made available to the general public. HRD Minister and Committee member Kapil Sibal, said that both the sides were keen that the new Bill should be introduced in the Monsoon session, which would begin early July.[45][46]

Second draft meeting[edit]

The Committee met as planned on 2 May 2011. The meeting was termed "very good" and with "no difference of opinion" between the panel members.[47] Sibal said that the meeting discussed the document presented previously by the civil society members. Prashant Bhushan said, "The meeting was mainly to discuss the basic principles behind the Jan Lokpal Bill. The discussion was on essential features, objects and reasons of the bill which have been prepared according to the main provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption. All signatories of the United Nations Convention against Corruption have to pass this kind of law."[48][49] In May 2011, the Indian Government had ratified two UN Conventions – the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its three protocols.[50][51]

Third draft meeting[edit]

After the third meeting on 7 May 2011, Bhushan said "Lokpal will have powers to initiate investigation and prosecution and will not need permission from the government. The model on which the financial independence will be based is yet to be decided. Various models were discussed, including from other countries and of institutions like the Supreme Court, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Central Vigilance Commission."[52]

Kapil Sibal said the meeting was "exceptionally constructive" and added, "The approach was very constructive. There were areas of broad agreement, including the process of appointment of Lokpal which should be transparent."[53] Another group of civil society members led by Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander working for a strong Lokpal Bill, upped its ante against Team Anna. Under the banner of the "National Campaign for People's Right to Information" (NCPRI)[54] they claimed that Anna's diktat could be dangerous and that the government's functioning could not be handled by one group.[55][56][clarification needed]

Fourth draft meeting[edit]

The 23 May meeting in 2011 lasted over three hours and the two sides agreed "in-principle" on half of the 40 basic principles for the anti-graft Lokpal bill proposed by the civil society members.[57][58][59]

Fifth draft meeting[edit]

At the 30 May 2011 meeting the chairman made it clear during the discussion that the matters pertaining to the exclusion of Prime Minister, Judiciary would be a part of the discussions on the scope of the Lokpal. The Chairman of the Panel announced that the conduct of the MPs' inside Parliament would remain outside its remit of the Lokpal to comply with [Article 105(2)] of the Constitution and that the views of the State and the political parties would be discussed with the civil society members.[60] These announcements created a stalemate between the Committee's two-halves.[61]

Sixth draft meeting[edit]

Team Anna boycotted 6 June 2011 meeting, alleging that the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev had "strengthened the doubts" about the government's intentions and demanded that the next meeting be rescheduled because of Hazare's other commitments.[62] Shanti Bhushan produced a letter that was read by the Chair "indicating their inability to attend the meeting" and "that what happened at the Ramlila ground had nothing to do with the proceedings of the Joint Drafting Committee". The chairman suggested that the drafting should be the focus. Post meeting, the draft was to be circulated to the other political parties for their consideration. They rescheduled the seventh meeting to 15 June.[63][64]

Seventh draft meeting[edit]

The two hours event took place on 15 June 2011, with out agreement on several issues. Both sides furnished versions to the Union Cabinet for consideration.[65] Team Anna blamed the government for not being serious, claiming "The government is planning to kill Lokpal before it's born".[66] The civil society members suggested that the Lokpal be empowered to probe corruption cases in instead of the departmental probes and CBI inquiries of the prior approach. The government rejected the idea. Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states expressed surprise that they were being consulted before the final draft was ready. Chief ministers of Congress-ruled states backed the Centre's stand and opposed bringing the prime minister under the Lokpal's ambit. BJP-ruled states sought wider deliberations. Opposition parties demanded to comment on the whole bill rather than on the six contentious issues.[67] Anna Team demanded that the audio of the proceedings be made available to them. Hazare threatened to resume an indefinite fast if the bill was not passed by 15 August.[68][69]

IssuesDraft Lokpal Bill, 2011 (government representatives)Draft Jan Lokpal Bill, 2011 (nominees of Anna Hazare)
CompositionChairperson and 10 members (at least 4 judicial members)Chairperson and 10 members (at least 4 members with legal background). The Chairperson to have extensive knowledge of law.
TenureFive years or till he is 70 yearsFive years or till he is 70 years
Manner of appointmentPresidential appointment on the recommendation of the selection committee.Presidential appointment on the recommendation of the selection committee.
Committee membershipPrime Minister, speaker, Leader of the House of which PM is not member, Minister of Home Affairs, Leader of the Opposition in both Houses, judge of Supreme Court, Chief Justice of a High Court, President of National Academy of Science, Cabinet Secretary (secretary of committee).Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, 2 judges of the Supreme Court, 2 chief justices of a high court, the Chief Election Commission, the CAG, and all previous chairpersons of the Lokpal. The members shall be selected from a list prepared by the Search Committee (10 members including civil society representatives).
QualificationImpeccable integrity with at least 25 years of experience in public affairs, academics, commerce, finance etc. Once appointed, cannot be an MP, MLA or be connected with a political party, business or practice a profession. A judicial member has to be either a Chief Justice of the High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court.A judicial member should have held judicial office for at least 10 years or been an advocate of the High Court or Supreme Court for at least 15 years. All members should be of impeccable integrity with record of public service especially in the field of corruption. Must be a citizen of India at least 45 years old. Must have no case involving moral turpitude framed against him by a court. Cannot have been a government servant within the last 2 years.
RemovalComplaint against members are made to the President who may refer it to the Supreme Court who will conduct an inquiry. The President may remove the member, on the opinion of the Chief Justice, on grounds of bias, corruption, insolvency, paid employment or infirmity.The President removes members on the recommendation of the Supreme Court made within 3 months of a complaint. Grounds for removal: misbehavior, infirmity, insolvency, paid employment outside the office. An Independent Complaints Authority at the state level inquires into complaints against Lokpal staff.
JurisdictionAll corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. It covers MPs, Ministers, 'Group A' officers, 'Group A' officers in a company or body owned by the government, any officer of a government-financed society or trust or funded by Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 or that gets funds from the public. Excludes PM, judiciary and any action of an MP in the Parliament or Committee.Offences by a public servant, including government employees, judges, MPs, Ministers, and the Prime Minister under the Indian Penal Code and the 1988 Corruption Act. Any offence committed by an MP in respect of a speech or vote in the House; wilfully giving or taking benefit from a person. Victimizing a whistleblower or witness.
InvestigationLokpal must conduct a preliminary inquiry within 30 days. If there is no prima facie case, the matter is closed. Given a prima facie case, Lokpal investigates after providing a suitable forum to the accused. The investigation must be completed within six months with an optional six-month extension after giving reasons in writing. No sanction shall be required by the Lokpal to investigate any complaint against a public servant.When investigating corruption cases, the CBI works under the Lokpal. Investigation of the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts require the permission of a 7-member bench of the Lokpal. Investigations can last 6 to 18 months. Investigation of whistleblower complaints who are in danger of victimisation, must be completed within 3 months.
ProsecutionThe Lokpal may constitute a prosecution wing headed by a director who files cases in the Special Court (to be constituted by the central government on recommendation of the Lokpal). Trials must complete within one year, which may be extended to two years for reasons given in writing. No sanction is required to file a case against a public servant. The Lokpal files cases in the Special Court and sends a copy of the report to the competent authority.

Procedure for persons other than MPs and ministers: The competent authority is the Minister for officers of government bodies and the society head for officers of societies. The Lokpal recommends disciplinary proceedings to the competent authority and provides a copy of the report to the accused. The competent authority must take action within 30 days and inform the Lokpal within 6 months of initiating disciplinary proceedings.

Procedure for MPs and ministers: The competent authority is the PM for Ministers and the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for MPs. The Speaker/Chairman tables the report in Parliament. The House reports to the Lokpal on any action taken within 90 days.

The CBI's prosecution wing moves under Lokpal. After an investigation is completed, the Lokpal may either initiate prosecution against the accused or impose penalty or both. The Lokpal can initiate prosecution in the Special Court formed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The Lokpal shall appoint retired judges or retired civil servants as judicial officers. A bench of judicial officers can impose a penalty on a public servant after conducting an inquiry. The decision shall be subject to approval from a higher authority to be prescribed.

Prosecution can be initiated against the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts only with permission of a 7-member bench of the Lokpal. If the Lokpal grants permission to investigate or initiate prosecution, no sanction is required from any other authority.

PenaltyAny person making false and frivolous or vexatious complaints shall be penalised with 2 to 5 years of jail and fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 200,000.For any act of corruption, the penalty shall be from six months to life imprisonment. If the beneficiary for an offence is a business entity, a fine of up to five times the loss caused to the public shall be recovered. If a company director is convicted, the company shall be blacklisted from any government contract. Convicted public servants are removed from office. Persons making a false complaint, are fined up to Rs 100,000. False complaints against a member of the Lokpal may result in 3 months imprisonment.
FundingPaid by Consolidated Fund of India.Paid by Consolidated Fund of India. The budget of the Lokpal should not be less than 0.25 percent of total government revenue. No sanction required from government to incur expenditure. The CAG audits Lokpal and a Parliamentary Committee evaluates Lokpal operations.
Other powersThe Lokpal can search and seize documents, attach property for 90 days, file for confirming the attachment within 30 days, and recommend suspension of the accused.The Lokpal can receive complaints from whistle-blowers, issue search warrants, attach property, recommend cancellation/modification of a lease or license or blacklist a company. If recommendation of Lokpal is not accepted it can approach the High Court. A bench of the Lokpal can approve interception and monitoring of messages transmitted through telephone or internet.

Union Cabinet approved bill[edit]

The government moved its version of the bill[1] in the Lok Sabha on 4 August, the ninth such introduction. The bill was introduced by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, V Narayanasamy. Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj opposed the exclusion of the prime minister from the purview of the proposed Lokpal. V Narayanasamy told the House that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in favour of bringing his office under the purview of the Lokpal, but the Cabinet rejected the idea after deliberation.[71] Anna Hazare burnt copies of the bill, to protest the government's lack of sincerity.[72][73]

On 27 August the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed a Pranab Mukherjee-proposed resolution conveying the sense of the House on the Lokpal Bill.[74] The House agreed 'in principle' on a Citizen's Charter, placing the lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal and establishing the Lokayukta in the States.[75]

Standing Committee bill[edit]

Member NamePartyMember Of
Abhishek Manu SinghviCongressRajya Sabha
Chandresh KumariCongressLok Sabha
N.S.V. ChitthanCongressLok Sabha
Deepa DashmunsiCongressLok Sabha
Prabha Kishore TaviadCongressLok Sabha
Manish TewariCongressLok Sabha
P.T. Thomas (Idukki)CongressLok Sabha
Meenakshi NatrajanCongressLok Sabha
Balavant alias Bal ApteBJPRajya Sabha
D.B. Chandre GowdaBJPLok Sabha
Harin PathakBJPLok Sabha
Jyoti DhurveBJPLok Sabha
Devji M PatelBJPLok Sabha
Parimal NathwaniIndependentRajya Sabha
Amar SinghIndependentRajya Sabha
Kirodi Lal MeenaIndependentLok Sabha
Ram JethmalaniNominated MemberRajya Sabha
Ram Vilas PaswanLJSPRajya Sabha
O.T. LepchaSDFRajya Sabha
Lalu PrasadRJDLok Sabha
Shailendra KumarSPLok Sabha
Monazir HassanJD(U)Lok Sabha
S. SemmalaiAIADMKLok Sabha
Vijay Bahadur SinghBSPLok Sabha
R. ThamaraiselvanDMKLok Sabha

The Jan Lokpal Bill was submitted to the committee by Congress MP from Bareilly Praveen Singh Aron.[77] The draft bill was distributed to members on 28 November. The committee recommended keeping judiciary and MPs' out of the Lokpal's purview and rejected the demand to move the prosecution wing of CBI under its jurisdiction. Committee members had unanimously recommended conferring constitutional status on the Lokpal and setting up of Lokpal and Lokayuktas in states under one bill. The draft document did not take a position on the inclusion of prime minister. Another of Team Anna's demands for inclusion of entire bureaucracy was turned down, given that the draft favoured inclusion of Group A and B officials, leaving out C and D staff.[78][79] Anna Hazare rejected this draft.[80][81][82]

At the final meeting on 7 December they decided to bring Group C and D officers under the ambit of state Lokayuktas.[83] Sixteen dissent notes were submitted at the meeting by members from BJP, BJD, SP, Congress, RJD and the Left.[84]

Enactment by the Lok Sabha[edit]

The Lokpal Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011[85] and passed by voice voting on the first day of the three-day extended session of the Winter session of the Lok Sabha, on 27 December 2011, after a marathon debate that lasted over 10 hours.[86] The lokpal body was not given the constitutional status as the Constitutional Amendment Bill, which provided for making the Lokpal a constitutional body, was defeated in the house. The Prime Minister described this as "a bit of disappointment", adding, "We have, however, fulfilled our objective of bringing these bills to Parliament as we had promised."[87] The bill passed by the house was termed "useless" by Team Anna, who reiterated their view that there was no need to give constitutional status to such a weak Lokpal.[88]

The government withdrew its previous version and had introduced a newer version of the bill. RJD leader Lalu Prasad, along with the support from the other parties like SP, AIMMM and LJP, demanded an inclusion of candidates from minorities in the nine member Lokpal Bench. The government gave in to the demands of parties.[89] The principal opposition party, the BJP, objected to it, classifying that such a move was illegal and asked the government to withdraw the bill.[86][90] BJD, JDU, RJD, SP, TDP and Left said the bill was weak and wanted it to be withdrawn.[85][91]

The bill passed by the house deleted the provision that gave presiding officers the power to act against ministers and MPs, even before trial, but the exemption time of former MPs was increased from five to seven years.[92] It excluded armed forces and coast guard from the purview of the anti-graft body.[86] The lokpal would take complaints against the prime minister after the consent of two-thirds of the Lokpal panel. The consent of state governments is mandatory for the notification to set up Lokayuktas in the states, but the setting up of them in the states was made mandatory. The appointment panel is loaded in favour of the government. The Lokpal Bill was passed under Article 252[a] of the constitution of India. The Prime Minister said, "We believe that the CBI should function without interference through any Government diktat. But no institution and no individual, howsoever high he may be, should be free from accountability."[94]

The Left, Samajwadi Party and BSP staged a walkout during voting of the bill, protesting that their demands were not being met. At least 15 Congress members and close to a dozen belonging to UPA allies were not present at the time of voting. The house also secured the passage of the Whistleblowers Bill[95][96]

Journey through The Rajya Sabha[edit]

Winter session, 2011[edit]

The ombudsman debate was taken up by The Rajya Sabha during the last day of the three-day extension of the winter session of Parliament, but the body recessed on 29 December without voting.[97][98] The bill was debated for over 12 hours ending abruptly at midnight as the House ran out of scheduled time. The House was adjourned sine die by ChairmanHamid Ansari. A verbal duel marred proceedings as some members including UPA ally Trinamool Congress interrupted V. Narayanasamy's defence of the Bill.[99] A vociferous opposition insisted on a vote while the government maintained it needed time to reconcile the 187 amendments/ Confusion marked the proceedings. Ansari asked for the national anthem Jana Gana Mana to be played, signalling the end of the proceedings and told the house:

This is an unprecedented situation…there appears to be a desire to outshout each other. There is a total impasse. The House cannot be conducted in the noise that requires orderly proceedings, I am afraid the Chair has no option…most reluctantly…I am afraid I can't and…

After a 15-minute adjournment between 11.30 and 11.45 PM, Pawan Kumar Bansal said that the decision on extension of the House was the government's prerogative. Leader of the OppositionArun Jaitley charged that the government was running away from Parliament and that the House should decide how long it should sit. He added:

You are creating an institution where you control the appointment mechanism, where you control the removal mechanism. We will support the appointment of the Lokpal procedures, but we cannot be disloyal to our commitment to create an integrity institution.[97]

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the House had expected the bill on Wednesday, but it came only on Thursday, the last day of the session. Derek O'Brien said "This is a shameful day for India's democracy. The government handled this situation very badly."[99] As the Opposition insisted on a vote, Bansal said the government was willing provided that the House passed the Bill voted by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. This meant that the proposed amendments would have to be set aside.

As stalemate and wrangling continued, the chairman called an end to the proceedings.[100][101] Chidambaram defended the deferment of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 in Rajya Sabha on 29 December contending that it was the "only prudent course" before the government and that it had ensured that the Bill remained alive. He continued to attack the BJP and called the amendments an "ingenious" method to scuttle the bill.[102] Hazare called off his hunger strike prematurely, blaming poor health.[103]

Budget session, 2012[edit]

Member NameParty
Shantaram NaikCongress
Satyavrat ChaturvediCongress
Shadi Lal BatraCongress
Arun JaitleyBJP
Rajiv Pratap RudyBJP
Bhupendra YadavBJP
KN BalagopalCPM
Shivanand TiwariJD-U
Tiruchi ShivaDMK
Satish MishraBSP
D BandyopadhyayTrinamool Congress
Ramgopal YadavSP
DP TripathiNCP
V MaitreyanAIADMK
AK GangulyNominated

Activists pushing hoped that the House would approve the bill towards the end of the second half of the budget session of 2012. The bill was re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 21 May 2012.[105] While moving the bill, the minister said that the differences had been narrowed. He said that the government proposed to bring the lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal, which would have investigation and prosecution powers. CVC would monitor Lokpal-referred investigations by the CBI. There would be provisions for attaching properties and a time-frame for investigations. An amendment was proposed whereby the states would pass the bill so the national law would not be forced upon states. After the amended bill was introduced, Narayanasamy, Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal sought to send the bill to a select committee. This was strongly objected to by BJP, the Left parties and BSP, with their members arguing that only the minister concerned (Narayanasamy) could do so and accusing the ruling coalition of "using the shoulder" of a "friendly opposition" party. After high drama the government yielded and Narayanasamy moved the motion, which immediately passed by voice vote. The 15-member select committee was to submit its report by the first day of the last week of the Monsoon Session.[106][107]

The committee met on 25 June and decided on "wider consultations" with the government officials and the public.[108] The panel invited public comments and called representatives of various ministries for recording evidence.[109] The meeting was headed by senior Congress MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi.[108] Law Secretary B A Agarwal was summoned to clarify various matters.[109] The committee met again on 19 July 2012. The director of the CBI aired his views in the meeting. He made it clear that the CBI is open to changes in the Lokpal bill that strengthen the agency's autonomy by enhancing the proposed Lokpal's role in key appointments like those of director, head of prosecution and lawyers who represent CBI. He also mentioned in the meeting that the Lokpal should be given a significant say in appointing the director of the prosecution wing instead of the process being controlled by the law ministry as is currently the procedure, the persistent criticism about CBI's investigations being throttled by political directives could be addressed as well. He opposed making the prosecution or the anti-corruption wings subservient to the Lokpal. The select committee had in its earlier sittings examined senior law officials who agreed with the members that the prescription for lokayuktas under Article 253 that refers to fulfilment of international obligations – in this case the UN convention against corruption – might not be feasible. Recourse to international treaties to frame a law that impact the federal structure is not within the ambit of the law. The Select committee referred the Bill for Public Suggestions in July 2012. In reply hundreds of responses were received to the Rajya Sabha. The committee took a view and shortlisted certain recommendations and took Oral Evidence in physical presence of the Members. Committee considered some of the most valid suggestions being done by the Members. Mr. Deepak Tongli of Hyderabad had come with a proposal of setting up the lower most unit to keep regular check on Anti Corruption in petty cases at District Level. In addition few other members also shared their views in this regard. Mr. Tongli, 26 yrs aged happened to be the youngest person to appear before the Parliamentary committee for Oral Evidence at Rajya Sabha.[110]

Monsoon session, 2012[edit]

The monsoon session of parliament was to be held in August 2012. Hence, a bill that is pending before the upper house whether or not it was passed by the Lok Sabha, does not lapse on its dissolution. Hence, the bill is still alive in its present form.[111] The bill was not expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha before the first day of the last week of the session.[112][113]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Official documents pertaining to the Lokpal Bill of Government of India
  • "The Lokpal Bill, 2011– As Introduced in Lok Sabha". [1]. 2011, PRS India.
  • "The Lokpal And Lokayuktas Bill, 2011". [2]. 27 December 2011, PRS India.
  • "Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal". [3]. December 2011, Rajya Sabha
  • "The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013" (As passed by both houses)[4] January 2014
Minutes of the Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) for Drafting the Lokpal Bill
  • "Minutes of the First Meeting". [5]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Second Meeting". [6]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Third Meeting". [7]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Fourth Meeting". [8]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Fifth Meeting". [9]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Sixth Meeting". [10]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India. Source:SCRIBD
  • "Minutes of the Seventh Meeting". [11]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Eight Meeting". [12]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
  • "Minutes of the Ninth Meeting". [13]. 2011, The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India
Non-Official Versions of Lokpal Bill
  • "The Foundation of Democratic Reforms and Lok Satta Position". [14]. 2011, FDR India
  • "The Jan Lokpal Bill- Version-2". [15]. 2011, India Against Corruption
  • "The Bahujan Lokpal Bill". [16]. 2011, Prajnya, Drafted by All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations and others.
  • "The NCPRI approach to Lokpal and comparative differences of it with the Jan Lokpal Bill". [17]. 2011, Prajnya
Similar International Anti-Corruption/Bribery Laws
  • "The United Kingdom Bribery Act, 2010". [18]. 2010, FDR India
  • "The Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan 2006". [19]. 2006, FDR India
  • "International Anti-Bribery And Fair Competition Act of 1998". [20]. 1998, United States federal Law, US Government Printing Office
  • "Sri Lanka- Bribery Act". [21]. 1954, OECD
International Anti-Corruption/Bribery Conventions
  • "United Nation Convention Against Corruption". [22]. New York 2004, FDR India
  • "CONVENTION ON COMBATING BRIBERY OF FOREIGN PUBLIC OFFICIALS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS". [23] 1997 Convention, the 2009 Recommendation of the Council for Further Combating Bribery, the 2009 Recommendation on the Tax Deductibility of Bribes to Foreign Public Officials and other related instruments, OECD
Other useful documents
  • "The Second Chamber of Rajya Sabha". [24]. 2009, The Second Chamber of Rajya Sabha, The Rajya Sabha
  • "The Two Houses: Powers and Relationship". [25]. The Rajya Sabha
  • "Battling India's malaise of Corruption". [26]. Address to the India CEO Forum Organised by International Market Assessment India Pvt. Ltd, CVC India
  • "Combating Corruption: Lessons Out Of India". [27].2009, International Public Management Review:Volume 10, Krishna K. Tummala

References[edit]

All of the Joint Draft meetings took place at the North Block
Kapil Sibal, member of the Joint Drafting Committee of Lokpal
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. But, it is pending in the Rajya Sabha
Hamid Ansari, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, adjourned the house sine die
  1. ^Section 252 of the Constitution of India. It is a legislation which pertains to the power of Parliament to legislate for two or more States by consent and adoption of such legislation by any other State.[93]

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