India Against Corruption and Jan Lokpal Bill 2011

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jan Lokpal Bill 2012:Draft and complete Details

Introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill 2012

The Lokpal debate has certainly got to be amongst the most exciting political developments in India since the economic reforms of the 1990's. This excitement is evident from a recent news article that claimed that the Lok Sabha TV, a channel that most of us didn't even know existed, had become one of the highest watched channels during the Lokpal Debates !! Truth to be told, most of us would have remained unaware of such a Bill had Anna Hazare not launched such a powerful agitation to pressurise the government to act against corruption. The malaise of corruption need not be emphasised. However, confusion persists amongst people regarding certain features of the Lokpal Bill. Some people blindly advocate the approach of the so called 'Civil Society' whereas some believe that the government being the representatives of the people have the exclusive right to make laws, no matter how weird or unjust they are. This Article tries to reconcile both views by first clarifying the current position of both the Jan Lokpal Bill (The Draft of the Civil Society) (Version 2-3) and the Government Lokpal Bill on a specific issue and then by advocating the best possible method to resolve their conflict. How-ever, there have been some specific instances where it has been felt that both viewpoints are faulty or simply too harsh. In such situations, an alternative view has been suggested which might be better suited to the aims of the Bill.

Need for Jan Lokpal in India

In a country like India where large discretionary powers are con-ferred upon administrative bodies because of shortage of skilled man-power, delegation of power is not possible. This concentration of power is responsible for the breeding of corrupt activities. As Lord Acton rightly pointed out, "Power corrupts;absolute power corrupts absolutely". Procedures to seek remedies against administrative actions are woefully inadequate.

The primary watchdogs over corruption in India, despite all the anti-corruptions bodies, would ulti-mately be the courts. Courts exercise control over administrative actions, however they only have a peripheral role. Courts have a limited role of ensuring that the administrative functions are done according to law. Administrative actions can be struck down by the court on the grounds of being mala-fide or ultra-vires or if there is a wrongful assumption of law. But still, getting relief is not easy because of lack of proof against administrative actions. Courts are reluctant to examine governmental records to find out the actual cause of administrative actions, thus putting burden on the petitioner to prove that the administrative actions were erroneous. Moreover, in the writ petitions filed against such actions, courts do not accept oral testimony or allow cross examination, rather they simply follow the affidavits filed by the parties. Also, such suits are very expensive and time consuming which makes it almost impossible for ordi-nary citizens to approach the court of law to rectify their problems.

The administrative departments themselves have a control mechanism which has been found to be grossly inadequate to redress the grievances of people. The legislature has been entrusted with the task of overseeing the administration, but due to the immense pressure of legislative work and hence the lack of time, this is not possible. Thus, the conventional organs of the government are insuffi-cient to control the administrative functions. This was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the case G. Sadanandan vs. State of Kerala.
Hence, there has been a need to have a strong anti-corruption body free from the influence of the govern-ment that can keep a check on all public institutions.

For these reasons, the desirability of the establishment of the institution of ombudsman has repeatedly been stressed in India, but till now the government has always been indif-ferent to the very idea of such an institution even though the report of the second Administrative reforms commission recommended the same as recent as 2005 saying that "The Lokpal is supposed to be a watchdog over the integrity of Ministers and . the Members of Parliament. The Lokpal Bill provides for. constitution of the Lokpal as an independent body to enquire into cases of corruption against public func¬tionaries, with a mechanism for filing complaints and conducting inquiries etc."

MC Setalvad, the first Attorney-General of India, in his speech at All India Lawyers' Conference, 1962, first gave the suggestion of establishing such an institution. It was L. M. Singhvi, who, during a debate in the house first coined the term-'Lokpal' and 'Lokayukta'. On the basis of the recommendations of Administrative Reforms Commission, the govern-ment introduced the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 1968 in the Parlia-ment, but it lapsed. In 1979, the Bill was to be introduced for the consi-deration of the house, but the session was adjourned sine die due to the resignation of the Prime Minister Morarjee Desai. In 1985, another Lokpal Bill was introduced which contained only those offences which were punishable under IPC. The Bill had to be withdrawn due to violent protest by the opposition. Subsequent Bills failed to pass in 1989,1996, 1997 and 1998 due to dissolution of the Parliament. The penultimate attempt in drafting such a Bill came in 2001 but the Lok Sabha dissolved before it could be passed. Interestingly, the basic structure of all Lokpal Bills framed till 2001 had remained the same. Recently, in 2011, considering the shortcomings in previous anti-corruption laws, the government took another initiative of drafting a Lokpal Bill to inquire corruption charges against government officials. How¬ever, this Bill had many loopholes which, if enacted, would have failed to achieve the very objective of the Bill. Thus, there were huge public protests demanding a stronger Bill. In wake of this mass movement, four different Bills i.e., the government Bill, the Bill of the National Advisory Committee, the Bill of the civil society headed by Anna Hazare and the Bill of Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan have come before the standing committee of the Parliament.


john gray said...

But most of our Indian citizen does not what is Lokpalbill and what are the important of lokpal bill.
Indian Anti Corruption Act

john gray said...

Most of Indian citizen does not know about this bill.
Due to Anna hazare we all came to know that what is lok pal bill and what is the main purpose behind this.Thanks to Anna Hazare.

dineshpandey40 said...

अन्ना हम आपके साथ हैं।


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