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Jan Lokpal Bill

Jan Lokpal Bill

The Jan Lokpal Bill (Hindi: ) (also referred to as the citizens' ombudsman bill) is a proposed anti-corruption law in India. It is designed to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances and protect whistle-blowers. If passed and made into law, the bill seeks to create an ombudsman called the Lokpal (translation: protector of the people) - an independent body similar to the Election Commission of India with the power to investigate politicians and bureaucrats without prior government permission[1] . First introduced in 1969, the bill has failed to become law for nearly over four decades[2] . In 2011, Gandhian rights activist Anna Hazare started a Satyagraha movement by commencing a fast unto death in New Delhi to demand the passing of the bill. The movement attracted attention in the media, and thousands of supporters. Following Hazare's four day hunger strike, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the bill would be re-introduced in the 2011 monsoon session of the Parliament.[3] Attempts to draft a compromise bill, merging the Government's version and that of the civil group's version (Jan Lokpal), by a committee of five Cabinet Ministers and five social activists failed. The Indian government introduced its own version of the bill in the parliament, which the activists consider to be too weak [4] .

The bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968[5] and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. However, it did not get through in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008[6] . But these never passed. Renewed calls for the bill arose over resentment of the major differences between the draft 2010 Lokpal Bill prepared by the government and that prepared by the members of the associated activists movement - mainly comprising of N. Santosh Hegde a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement. The bill's supporters consider existing laws too weak and insufficiently enforced to stop corruption.[7] [8]

Key features of proposed bill

1. To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level. 2. As in the case of the Supreme Court and Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission. As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations. 3. Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process. 4. A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public. 5. Every month on its website, the Lokayukta will publish a list of cases dealt with, brief details of each, their outcome and any action taken or proposed. It will also publish lists of all cases received by the Lokayukta during the previous month, cases dealt with and those which are pending. 6. Investigations of each case must be completed in one year. Any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year, giving a total maximum process time of two years. 7. Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction. 8. Government officework required by a citizen that is not completed within a prescribed time period will result in Lokpal imposing financial penalties on those responsible, which will then be given as compensation to the

Jan Lokpal Bill complainant. 9. Complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within a month and, if found to be substantive, will result in the officer being dismissed within two months. 10. The existing anti-corruption agencies (CVC, departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the CBI) will be merged into Lokpal which will have complete power and authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician. 11. Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.

Difference between Government and activist drafts

Highlights Difference between Draft Lokpal Bill 2010 and Jan Lokpal Bill[9]
Draft Lokpal Bill (2010) Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill)

Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or or receive complaints of corruption from the the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. general public. Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a role limited to forwarding reports to a "Competent Authority". Lokpal will have no police powers and no ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal investigations. The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected. Lokpal will have the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty. Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs. Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body. Punishments will be a minimum of 10 years 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.

These differences between the two versions of the Lokpal Bill were claimed by India Against Corruption in a document released online on June 23, 2011[10] . Differences between the bills were also compared by The Hindu and Times of India on June 23, 2011 [11] [12]
Issue The Jan Lokpal Bill [13] [14] Government's Lokpal Bill [15] Comments by critics (India Against Corruption) of [10] Lokpal As of today, corruption by PM can be investigated under Prevention of Corruption Act. Government wants investigations to be done by CBI, which comes directly under him, rather than independent Lokpal. Comments by critics of Jan Lokpal

Prime [] Minister

Lokpal should have PM kept out of Lokpals purview [16] [15] power to investigate . allegations of corruption against PM. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints

The PM, as the head of the state, should not be allowed to be probed by an extra-constitutional body. That undermines existing bodies set up constitutionally to [17] investigate that

Jan Lokpal Bill

[18] [] Lokpal should have Judiciary kept out of Lokpal [15] powers to investigate purview . allegation of corruption against judiciary. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints


Government wants this to be included in Judicial Accountability [19] Bill (JAB) . Under JAB, permission to enquire against a judge will be given by a three member committee (two judges from the same court and retd Chief justice of the same court). There are many such flaws in JAB. We have no objections to judiciary being included in JAB if a strong and effective JAB were considered and it were enacted simultaneously. Taking bribe to vote or speak in Parliament strikes at the foundations of our democracy. Governments refusal to bring it under Lokpal scrutiny virtually gives a license to MPs to take bribes with impunity.

Having Lokpal investigate the Judiciary fouls the existing structure of the judicial review process. This is [20] [17] dangerous



Lokpal should be able Government has excluded this from [21] to investigate conduct Lokpals purview . of MPs in Parliament, including allegations that any MP had taken bribe to vote or speak in [] Parliament .

According to Article 105 of the Constitution of [22] India , MPs have certain legal protections for their actions in the Parliament. Lokpal cannot supercede this [23] clause

Grievance [] redressal

Violation of citizens No penalties proposed. charter (if an officer does not do a citizens work in prescribed time) by an officer should be penalized and should be deemed to be corruption. Anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal. CBI to be completely controlled by the Government and the Prime Minister.

Government had agreed to citizen activists' demand in the Joint committee meeting on 23rd May. It is unfortunate they have gone back on this decision.


[21] []

CBI is misused by governments. Recently, govt has taken CBI out of RTI, thus further increasing the scope for corruption in CBI. CBI will remain corrupt till it remains under governments control Governments proposal ensures that the government will be able to appoint its own people as Lokpal members and Chairperson. Interestingly, they had agreed to the selection committee proposed by us in the meeting held on 7th May. There was also a broad consensus on selection process. However, there was a disagreement on composition of search committee. We are surprised that they have gone back on the decision.

Selection of Lokpal members (Selection [] committee)

1. Broad based selection committee with 2 politicians, four judges and two independent constitutional authorities. 2. An independent search committee consisting of retd constitutional authorities to prepare first list. 3. A detailed transparent and participatory selection process.

1.Five out of ten members from ruling establishment and six politicians in selection committee (PM, Leaders of ruling party in two House, Leaders of Opposition in two houses, Minister for Home Affairs). Others bring two judges and President of National Academy of [15] Sciences 2. Search committee to be selected by selection committee 3. No selection process provided. It will completely depend on selection committee.

Jan Lokpal Bill

To the people. A citizen To the Government. Only can make a complaint government can seek removal of [15] to Supreme Court and Lokpal seek removal. With selection and removal of Lokpal in governments control, it would virtually be a puppet in governments hands, against whose seniormost functionaries it is supposed to investigate, thus causing serious conflict of interest. Governments proposal creates a Lokpal, which is accountable either to itself or to the government. We have suggested giving these controls in the hands of the citizens. Investigation process provided by the government would severely compromise all investigations. If evidence were made available to the accused at various stages of investigations, in addition to compromising the investigations, it would also reveal the identity of whistleblowers thus compromising their security. Such a process is unheard of in criminal jurisprudence anywhere in the world. Such process would kill almost every case.

Who will Lokpal be accountable [] to?

Integrity of Lokpal staff

Complaint against Lokpal staff will be heard by an independent authority.

Lokpal itself will investigate complaints against its own staff

Method of enquiry

Method would be the same as provided in CrPC like in any other criminal case. After preliminary enquiry, an FIR will be registered. After investigations, case will be presented before a court, where the trial will take place

CrPC being amended. Special protection being provided to the accused. After preliminary enquiry, all evidence will be provided to the accused and he shall be heard as to why an FIR should not be regd against him. After completion of investigations, again all evidence will be provided to him and he will be given a hearing to explain why a case should not be filed against him in the court. During investigations, if investigations are to be started against any new persons, they would also be presented with all evidence against them and heard. Only Group A officers will be [21] [15] covered .

Lower [] bureaucracy

All those defined as public servants in Prevention of Corruption Act would be covered. This includes lower bureaucracy.

One fails to understand governments stiff resistance against bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpals ambit. This appears to be an excuse to retain control over CBI because if all public servants are brought under Lokpals jurisdiction, government would have no excuse to keep CBI. According to Mr Pranab Mukherjee, some of the CMs have objected to providing Lokayuktas through the same Bill. He was reminded that state Information Commissions were also set up under RTI Act through one Act only



The same bill should provide for Lokpal at centre and Lokayuktas in states

Only Lokpal at the centre would be created through this Bill.

Jan Lokpal Bill

Lokpal will be required to provide protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption. No mention in this law.

Whistleblower [24] protection

According to govt, protection for whistleblowers is being provided through a separate law. But that law is so bad that it has been badly trashed by standing committee of [24] Parliament last month . The committee was headed by Ms Jayanthi Natrajan. In the Jt committee meeting held on 23rd May, it was agreed that Lokpal would be given the duty of providing protection to whistleblowers under the other law and that law would also be discussed and improved in joint committee only. However, it did not happen. One study shows that it takes 25 years at appellate stage in corruption cases. This ought to be addressed.

Special benches in HC

High Courts will set up No such provision special benches to hear appeals in corruption cases to fast track them. On the basis of past experience on why anti-corruption cases take a long time in courts and why do our agencies lose them, some amendments to CrPC have been suggested to prevent frequent stay orders. After completion of investigations, in addition to filing a case in a court for prosecution, a bench of Lokpal will hold open hearings and decide whether to remove the government servant from job. Not included


Dismissal of corrupt government servant

The minister will decide whether to [15] remove a corrupt officer or not .

Often, they are beneficiaries of corruption, especially when senior officer are involved. Experience shows that rather than removing corrupt people, ministers have rewarded them. Power of removing corrupt people from jobs should be given to independent Lokpal rather than this being decided by the minister in the same department.

None of these accepted. Only Punishment for 1. Maximum [21] punishment is ten years maximum punishment raised to 10 corruption 2. Higher punishment if years. rank of accused is higher 3. Higher fines if accused are business entities 4. If successfully convicted, a business entity should be blacklisted from future contracts. Financial independence Lokpal 11 members collectively will decide how much budget do they need Will be paid through the [15] Consolidated Fund of India (Finance ministry will decide the quantum of budget) This seriously compromises with the financial independence of Lokpal

Jan Lokpal Bill

Lokpal will have a duty No such duties and powers of to take steps to prevent Lokpal corruption in any ongoing activity, if brought to his notice. If need be, Lokpal will obtain orders from High Court. 2G is believed to have come to knowledge while the process was going on. Shouldnt some agency have a duty to take steps to stop further corruption rather than just punish people later?

Prevent further loss

Tap phones

[21] Lokpal bench will grant Home Secretary would grant [21] permission to do so permission .

Home Secretary is under the control of precisely those who would be under scanner. It would kill investigations. This is a sure way to kill Lokpal. The members, if they cannot hire investigative officers, will not be able to handle all cases. Within no time, they would be overwhelmed.

Delegation of powers

Lokpal members will only hear cases against senior officers and politicians or cases involving huge amounts. Rest of the work will be done by officers trained by and working under Lokpal Only government funded NGOs covered No imprisonment. Only fines on complainants. Lokpal would decide whether a complaint is frivolous or vexatious or false.

No comparable provision



All NGOs, big or small, are covered [25] . Two to five years of imprisonment and fine. The accused can file complaint against complainant in a court. Prosecutor and all expenses of this case will be provided by the government to the accused. The complainant will also have to pay a compensation to the accused .

A method to arm twist NGO

False, Frivolous and vexatious complaints

This will give a handle to every accused to browbeat complainants. Often corrupt people are rich. They will file cases against complainants and no one will dare file any [24] complaint . Interestingly, minimum punishment for corruption is six months but for filing false complaint is two years.

Local march by Delhi residents On March 13, 2011, a group of Delhi residents dressed in white shirts and t-shirts drove around the city for four hours in support of an anti-corruption campaign and the passing of a Jan Lokpal Bill.[26] Satyagraha Movement by activist Anna Hazare Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare went on hunger strike "unto death" on April 5, 2011, pending the enactment of a Jan Lokpal Bill.[27] One-day fast by Mumbai residents Around 6,000 Mumbai residents also began a one-day fast in support of similar demands.[28] Protesters chose yellow as their colour and were seen wearing yellow dresses, T-shirts while waving yellow banners. Inter city protest co-ordination is underway to observe Yellow Sunday.

Jan Lokpal Bill Jail Bharo Andolan by activist Anna Hazare Hazare also announced plans to start a Jail Bharo Andolan protest on 13 April 2011 [29] if the Jan Lokpal bill is not passed by the government. He also stated that his group has received six crore (60 million) text messages of support[30] and that he has further backing from a large number of Internet activists.

people protesting against the imprisonment of Anna Hazare in New Delhi, India

The protests are not associated with any political parties, and Hazare supporters discouraged political leaders from joining the protests, because Hazare believes that political parties were using the campaign for their own political advantage.[31] Hazare announced to go on fast again from 16 August 2011 if Jan Lokpal Bill was not presented before Parliament of India. But government rejected his demand to present any other bill except the one drafted by them. To stop Hazare from going on Hunger Strike government put forth lots of Candle light vigil at India Gate against the imprisonment of Anna Hazare conditions in front of him if he wanted to protest. Few of which were that no more than 5000 people can gather with him, the fast must not exceed three days and anytime medical check up could be conducted. Out of which Anna accepted few conditions to start his protest. But on Monday morning, Aug 16, Sec 144 was imposed around JP Park, New Delhi where he had planned to protest.

Jan Lokpal Bill

So Delhi Police arrested Anna from the place he was living on charges that his protest can cause law and order problems in Delhi. After his arrest thousands of people gathered in city to protest against government. People took out rallies in large numbers and gave arrests. Police arrested thousand of people and were put inside stadiums converted to jails. [32] The city observed a candle light protest at India Gate in response. The nation as a whole witnessed widespread protests against the alleged atrocities of the government.

A person holding the Indian Flag at the India gate while protesting against the imprisonment of Anna Hazare

Notable supporters and opposition

In addition to the activists responsible for creating and organizing support for the bill, a wide variety of other notable individuals have also stated that they support this bill. Spiritual leadersSri Sri Ravi Shankar[33] and Yog Guru Ramdev[34] have both expressed support. Notable politicians who have indicated support for the bill include Ajit Singh[35] and Manpreet Singh Badal[36] as well as the principal opposition party, Bharatiya Janta Party.[37] [38] In addition, numerous Bollywood actors, directors, and musicians have publicly approved of the bill.[39] [40] [41] [42] [43]
[44] [45] [46]

Notable opposition has been expressed by HRD minister Kapil Sibal and other Congress leaders; Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta 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. [47] Although BJP showed their support earlier, there are reports that BJP shares the Congress's concern "over letting the civil society gain the upper hand over Parliament in lawmaking".[48]

Government response
To dissuade Hazare from going on an indefinite hunger strike, the Prime Minister's Office have directed the ministries of personnel and law to examine how the views of society activists can be included in the Lokpal Bill.[49] On 5 April 2011, 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.[50] Hazare's fast was supported by the CPI(M) with their politburo issuing a statement demanding an effective Lokpal Bill. After several rounds of talks, on 8 April 2011, Anna Hazare announced to his supporters that the Government had agreed to all his demands and he would break his fast on the following Saturday morning. According to the understanding reached, five of the ten-member joint-draft committee would come from society . Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chairman of the draft committee and Shanti Bhushan his Co-Chairman.[51] Government's handling of the formation of the draft committee, involving the civil society in preparation of the draft Lokpal bill, was criticized by various political parties: BJP, BJD, TDP,AIADMK, CPI-M,RJD, BJD, JD(U) and Samajwadi Party. [52] [53] On July 28, 2011, the Union Cabinet ministers approved a bill that will be introduced in the Parliament in August 2011 for approval. This bill contains parts of the provisions proposed in Jan Lokpal bill. The essential features are:

Jan Lokpal Bill (1) Lokpal consists of eight members and a chairperson; the Chair will be retired Chief Justice; four members should have judicial background such as retired justices from the Supreme Court; the other four members should have 25 years of administrative experience in particular dealing with corruption with integrity; members are appointed for a term of five years; Lokpal will have its own investigation and prosecution wing; it has the authority to investigate corruption matters involving any ministers, Members of Parliament, any Group A officers in any organization set up by the Parliament; Lokpal will not have the power to prosecute but will have to refer the case to the Supreme Court. A nine member committee, headed by the Prime Minister (with members including the Speaker, opposition party leader, a minister and reputed legal professionals) and the Prime Minister and Supreme Court and High Court justices are exempted from he jurisdiction of Lokpal. If this bill becomes law, one major change from the current practice is that the LokPal can initiate investigation of government officials and ministers and other elected representatives without prior approval from the government, as it is practiced now under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. [54] Anna Hazare was arrested on 16 August 2011 By Delhi Police on his way to the JP park where he was supposed to start his unlimited hunger strike, since the local government earlier refused to issue permission for Hazare to carry out his strike in JP park. Arwind Kejriwal and many supporters also arrested.

Drafting Committee
The drafting committee was officially formed on 8 April 2011. It consists of ten members, including five from the government and five drawn from society.[55] [56] 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. [57]

The Government of India accepted that the committee be co-chaired by a politician and a non-political activist. It is reported that Pranab Mukherjee, from the political arena, and Shanti Bhushan, from civil society, will fill those roles.

Government representation
Five Cabinet ministers will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are: Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister, Co-Chairman; P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs; Veerappa Moily, Minister of Corporate Affairs; Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications and Information Technology; and Salman Khursid, Minister of Law

Civil society representation

Five leading social activists will be a part of the Drafting Committee. They are: Shanti Bhushan, Former Minister of Law and Justice, Co-Chairman; Anna Hazare, Social Activist; Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer; N. Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta (Karnataka); and Arvind Kejriwal, RTI Activist.

Jan Lokpal Bill


Criticisms of the Jan Lokpal Bill

Some believe that the bill is nave in its approach to combating corruption. According to Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Center for Policy Research Delhi, the bill "is premised on an institutional imagination that is at best nave; at worst subversive of representative democracy".[58] The Lokpal concept was criticized by the Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal because of concerns that it will lack accountability, oppresively, and undemocratically.[59] The claim that the Lokpal will be an extra-constitutional body has been derided by Hazares closest lieutenant, Arvind Kejriwal. He states the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by civil society will only investigate corruption offences and submit a charge sheet which would then tried and prosecuted, through trial courts and higher courts. Kejriwal further states that the proposed bill also lists clear provisions in which the Supreme Court can abolish the Lokpal.[60] Although Kejriwal has stated that all prosecutions will be carried out through trial courts, the exact judicial powers of LokPal is rather unclear in comparison with its investigative powers. The bill [61] 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,[62] the government and some critics have recognized Lokpal to have quasi-judicial powers. [63] The bill 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." Review of proceedings and decisions by Lokpal is prevented in the bill, stating " 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." 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. Without judicial review, there is concern that Lokpal could become a extra-constitutional body with investigative and judicial powers whose decisions cannot be reviewed in regular courts.[64] Whether or not to include the Prime Minister and higher judiciary under the Lokpal remains as one of the major issues of dispute. Although Hazare proposed Justice Verma, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as the Chairman of the Lokpal Bill panel,[65] Justice Verma later expressed his constitutional objections for including the Prime Minister and higher judiciary under Lokpal, stating "this would foul with the basic structure of the constitution". [66] Aruna Roy, a NAC member and Magsaysay Award winner, 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 Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) have proposed a different mechanism consisting of five institutions.[67]

In April 2011, the involvement of the bill co-chairman Shanti Bhushan was questioned after a CDROM emerged with audio clippings of a telephone conversation allegedly between him, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh about influencing a judge[68] . All involved reacted to the allegation saying that the CD was fabricated and demanded a formal investigation to verify its authenticity.

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Jan Lokpal Bill

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Jan Lokpal Bill


External links
Lokpal Bill Public Consultation Website ( Final Version 2.3 under official consideration - redrafted by Ramarao Veluri, available on Govt of India website ( Jan Lokpal Bill - Activists proposed version ( lokpal bill by Expert (Eng). pdf) Government of India proposed version ( Bill by Government of India. pdf) Government of India Offical Lokpal Documentation Website for comprehensive set from 1968 till date (http:// The Lokpal cycle (

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