Jan Lokpal Bill. What is it?

The present system to fight corruption in India can be described in some points as below –

1.The Anti Corruption Branch and CBI comes under the government. Despite having evidence, it is very difficult to convict people as they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.
2.No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.
3.No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges
4.The functioning of CBI and vigilance departments is secret and hence it promotes corruption.
5.Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of these institutions by the government.
6.Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complaint to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.
7.Nothing in law to recover ill gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.
8.Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years.

As you can see, in the present system, there is no deterrent for any public official to engage in an act of corruption. Some of the salient features of the Jan Lokpal Bill are –

1.An institution called LOKPAL in the centre and LOKAYUKTA in each state will be set up. These institutions will completely independent of the governments, just like the Supreme Court and the Election Commission. No minister can influence their investigations.
2.Investigation in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in next one year so that the corrupt officer, or politician goes to jail in two years max.
3.The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
4.If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant. So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering your case or any other work is not being done in prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month’s time.
5.Election of Lokpal officials – What if government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That won’t be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities and not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
6.What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
7.What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
8.The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

Linked: SumitGupta

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