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Lokpal Bill

After 42 years, the Jan Lokpal Bill is still pending in India. The first Lokpal Bill was passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969 but could not get through in Rajya Sabha, subsequently, Lokpal bills were introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, yet they were never passed and its pending. [1][2]

The Lokpal Bill provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, other ministers, and MPs with the ombudsman. The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) while recommending the constitution of Lokpal was convinced that such an institution was justified not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of adversely affected citizens but also necessary to instill public confidence in the efficiency of administrative machinery. Following this, the Lokpal Bill was for the first time presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968, and was passed there in 1969.

However, while it was pending in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved so the bill was not passed at that time. The bill was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and most recently in 2008. Each time, after the bill was introduced to the house, it was referred to some committee for improvements - a joint committee of parliament, or a departmental standing committee of the Home Ministry - and before the government could take a final stand on the issue the house was dissolved. Several flaws have been cited in the recent draft of the Lokpal Bill. [3] Meanwhile the activists of India Against Corruption (IAC) have prepared a draft for the bill called Jan Lokpal Bill. [2]

[edit] History

The basic idea of the Lok Pal is borrowed from the office of ombudsman, which has played an effective role in checking corruption and wrong- doing in Scandinavian and other nations. In early 1960s, mounting corruption in public administration set the winds blowing in favour of an Ombudsman in India too. The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) set up in 1966 recommended the constitution of a two-tier machinery - of a Lokpal at the Centre, and Lokayukta(s) in the states.

[edit] Duties

Prime Minister or a House of Parliament — to whom a Lokpal sends its report holds that the allegations of corruption made in a complaint against the Prime Minister, or a Minister or MP (present or past) have not been proved, "notwithstanding anything contained in any other law", "no prosecution shall lie on any complaint, report, information or otherwise and no court shall take cognisance of any offence on the basis of the same or substantially the same allegations." The Lokpal is empowered to give directions for deferring or suspending any ongoing police investigations in matters covered by the complaints made to it.

[edit] Criticism

The Lokpal bill is intended to provide the common man with direct powers to censure his/her elected representative. However, every complainant has to pay fees and take full responsibility

for leveling charges. In case the complaint is found to be baseless, punitive action extending to two years in jail and monetary fine of up to Rs.50,000 may be imposed on the complainant.

Charges of corruption in the Indian legal system are not necessarily covered only under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 but also under many other Acts, but the Lokpal restricts its ambit to the cases under this Act.

Regarding the constitution of the Lokpal, the Chairman of the Lokpal shall be from among past or present chief justices of Supreme Court. But the other two members of the Lokpal may also be from those qualified to be judges of the Supreme Court. The loose end left here makes countless many from India’s entire judiciary eligible for the post including those who are also senior party politicians with legal background.

[edit] Latest Development

Anna Hazare, a Gandhian rights activist, had started a fast until death to demand the passing of the bill. Hazare called off his hunger strike on 9 April 2011 bringing to an end his 98-hour protest after government issued a gazette notification constituting a 10-member Joint Committee of

ministers and civil society activists, including him, to draft an effective Jan Lokpal Bill. Thousands of young protesters helped this issue gather a lot of steam and hence the Central Government has seriously considered passing the bill. The Lokpal Bill is likely to be passed by 15 August

2011.

[edit] Differences between Draft Lokpal Bill 2010 and Jan Lokpal Bill

Draft Lokpal Bill (2010)

Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.

Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the "Competent Authority".

Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.

CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.

Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up to 7 years.

Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill)

Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.

Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate prosecution against anyone found guilty.

Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.

Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.

The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum

up to life imprisonment.

Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area.23

The 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement consists of a series of protests for the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen Ombudsman Bill) that sprang up across India especially after April 5, 2011. The protesters want the Government of India to draft a strong anti-graft Lokpal bill which follows the originally drafted bill and not the changes the government plans to bring in, which will make the Lokayukta just another advisory body with no actual power in the vast Indian bureaucracy. Following continuous calls in vain to the government to work effectively towards passing the bill, a civil society activist and Gandhian, Anna Hazare, went on an indefinite hunger strike until death until his demands in support of the bill were met. Anna demanded for a joint committee of civil society members and government representatives to draft a strong anti-graft bill.[1] The protests led to the creation of an unprecedented movement that saw protests being organised in various cities and towns of India. Protests included fasts, candlelight vigils and rallies. The protests are especially one of their kind in India as they have no political affiliation and the protesters have been very hostile to any political party trying to grab the initiative to meet its own political goals from the activists. The protests to some extent have similarities in methodologies to Jayaprakash Narayan's Bihar Movement (commonly called the JP Movement) of 1974.[2] There were also similarities to the methods and philosophies used in the 2011 Egyptian revolution and the Tunisian revolution, that have rocked the very foundations of governments in the Arab world. Protest Timeline

13 March 2011 A group of Delhi residents dressed in white shirts and t-shirts took a four-hour drive around the city to drum up campaign against corruption and rally support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.[8] 28 March 2011 According to the organisers of the protests held globally on that day - "As many as 45 cities in USA, 40 cities in India and 8 other countries globally joined in an anti-corruption movement. Indians across the globe, as far as from Nagpur to New Jersey and Sydney to Seattle shouted in one voice to enact 'Jan Lokpal Bill' and ratify the UN Convention against Corruption." Many of the marchers were planning to continue the movement by joining Anna Hazare's fast in Delhi on 5 April for the same cause.[9] 4 April 2011 Anna Hazare, the anti corruption activist leader announced his fast unto death till Jan Lokpal Bill is enacted[10] 5 April

2011

Protesters have come out in support of Anna Hazare Anna Hazare, initiated his fast unto death at Jantar Mantar in Delhi Around 6,000 Mumbai residents joined Anna Hazare for a one-day fast to support the demand for implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill.[11] In Pune over 6,000 residents joined the campaign.[12] The Freedom Park in Banglore was the cynosure of all eyes on Thursday as Bangaloreans from all walks of life thronged the place to support Anna Hazare.[13] 7 April 2011

Protests have continued as the Government fails to offer better terms to the activists 2 rounds of talks with the government failed. Anna Hazare continued on with his fast.[14] Narendra Modi, the chief Minister of Gujarat lashes out at Manmohan Singh for resisting the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill [15] Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress party and the head of the National Advisory Council appealed to Anna Hazare to end his indefinite fast.[16] 8 April 2011

India Against Corruption

indefinite fast.[16] 8 April 2011 India Against Corruption India Against Corruption ( IAC ) is a

India Against Corruption (IAC) is a people's movement to demand comprehensive reforms of anti-corruption systems in India. Several eminent citizens have come together to force the Government of India to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill [1]. This initiative is supported by several eminent citizens of India including religious leaders, Right To Information Activists, social reformers and bureaucrats. [1][2][3]

Strategy

Inspired with Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption [4] the leaders of the IAC initiative have prepared a draft Jan Lokpal Bill. The Jan Lokpal Bill provides for a strong, efficient and politically independent institutions, the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas for investigation of corruption charges against public officials and politicians. The bill also provides for time bound grievance redressal and speedy investigation.

In March 2011, the organization sent an open letter to PM Manmohan Singh and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for a CBI probe as recommended by Central government committee into "irregularities in the forest department", and into the harassment of IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi. [5]

In April 2011, Anna Hazare gave a call to the nation to press the government for the enactment of Jan LokPal bill. [6] In hundreds of cities, towns and villages across the length and breadth of the country, people took initiative and formed teams for supporting Annaji's indefinite fast. Hundreds of people joined Annaji in his fast at home / office / event venues on the 5 April 2011. This event has turned out to be the single largest people's movement since India's independence. The movement ended the indefinite fast on 9 April 2011 with the assurance by the government to constitute a committee to enact Jan LokPal bill. This people's mass movement has vowed to carry on staging fight against corruption. [7][8]

Anna Hazare's role

Social worker Anna Hazare has declared to go on an indefinite fast starting 5 April 2011 to persuade Government of India to introduce and enact the Jan Lokpal Bill in place of the government proposed Lokpal Bill.

"I solemnly pledge that I would not vote for that party which does not pass Jan Lokpal or Lokayukta Bill drafted by Citizens wherever it is in power- either at center or at state level." Vote 4 india pledge

Vote Bank Against Corruption

The India Against Corruption initiative is creating a Vote Bank (Vote For India). They encourage Indian citizens to register on this website and take a pledge that they will not vote for a party which does not pass the Jan Lokpal bill.

Political support

Several political parties have come to support the movement for Jan Lokpal Bill. Political leaders from different parties – Sudhakar Reddy, A B Bardhan, Abani Roy (Left front), H D Devegowda (JDS) Mysora Reddy (TDP) and Jayant Chowdhry (RLD) signed a joint statement [9] indicating their support to the movement.

List of Indian political scandals

An Indian political scandal commonly refers to some action by a politician deemed unacceptable in law or by custom, or which is held to be morally unacceptable to the politician's peers or the electorate.

List of Indian political scandals

This is a list of Indian political scandals, real or alleged.

[edit] 2010 onwards

2G spectrum scam

Adarsh Housing Society scam

Commonwealth Games Scandal

[edit] 2000 - 2009

Satyam scandal

Ketan Parekh Scandal, Barak Missile Deal Scandal, Tehelka Scandal (2001)

Taj corridor case (2002–2003)

Telgi scandal (2003)

Nitish Katara Murder Case (2004)

Oil-for-food programme scam (Natwar Singh) (2005)

Jessica Lal case (2006)

Human Trafficking Scam involving Babubhai Katara

Cash-for-votes scandal

Madhu Koda, laundering money worth over Rs. 4000 crores

Gegong Apang, public distribution scam [1]

[edit] 1990 - 1999

Bofors Scandal (1990)

Animal Husbandry Case (1990)

Bombay Stock Exchange Manipulation & Fraud by Harshad Mehta (1992)

Hawala scandal (1993)

Bangalore - Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (1995)

Sukh Ram (1996)

Fodder Scam in Bihar (1996)

Kerala SNC Lavalin power scandal (1997)

[edit] 1900 - 1990

Telecom scam (Sukh Ram)

HDW Submarine

Bitumen scam

Tansi land deal

JMM Bribery Scandal

St Kitts case

Urea scam

Anantnag transport subsidy scam

1971 Nagarwala scandal

Fodder scam

1975: Declaration of Emergency

Churhat lottery scam

veeranam scandal (Tamilnadu DMK Govt 1977) Muster role scandal(Tamilnadu DMK Govt 1974)

Corruption in India

Political and bureaucratic corruption in India are major concerns. A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 15% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to successfully complete jobs in public office. [1][2]

Taxes and bribes are a fact of daily life and common between state borders; Transparency International estimates that truckers pay US$5 billion in bribes annually. [3] In 2010 India was ranked 87 th out of 178 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.

Overview

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is quoted as saying that corruption is a misuse of power. [4][5] "India needs to deal with the malice of corruption and improve governance in Asia's third-largest economy." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on March 18, 2011. [6]

Criminalization of Indian politics is a serious problem. [7] In July 2008 The Washington Post reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder". [8]

India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks (USD 1.4 trillion approximately) in the form of black money. [9] According to the data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India has more black money than the rest of the world combined. [10][11] Indian Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the country’s national debt. [12]

Independent reports have recently [when?] calculated India's traditionally ruling family's (Gandhi's) financial net worth to be anywhere between $9.41 billion (Rs 42,345 crore) to $18.66 billion (Rs 83,900 crore), most of it in the form of illegal monies. [13] Harvard scholar Yevgenia Albats cited KGB correspondence about payments to Rajiv Gandhi and his family, which had been arranged by Viktor Chebrikov, [14][15][16] which shows that KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov sought in writing an "authorization to make payments in US dollars to the family members of Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi" from the CPSU in December 1985. [14][15][16]

“The recent scams involving unimaginably big amounts of money, such as the 2G spectrum scam, are well known. It is estimated that more than trillion dollars are stashed away in foreign havens, while 80% of Indians earn less than 2$ per day and every second child is malnourished. It seems as if only the honest people are poor in India and want to get rid of their poverty by education, emigration to cities, and immigration, whereas all the corrupt ones, like Hasan Ali Khan are getting rich through scams and crime. It seems as if India is a rich country filled with poor people", [17] the organisers of Dandi March II in the United States said. [18]

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India said, “As on March 31, 2010, unutilised committed external assistance was of the order of Rs.1,05,339 crore.” [19]

In a most recent example of corruption, even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probes US$8 billion worth transactions allegedly involving

suspected money launderer Hasan Ali Khan, evidence available with a news source in India shows that he had transactions of over

crore (US$24.86 billion) between years 2005 and 2006. This amount is enough to fund the national drinking water project in all the six lakh

(600,000) villages in India for the next 10 years. [20]

drinking water project in all the six lakh (600,000) villages in India for the next 10

112,000