ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Repairing the Lokpal Bill

There are many problems with the Lokpal Bill 2011, the most serious being the lack of independence to the anti-corruption wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation. There have been problems as well with the civil society approach to the negotiations with the government. Civil society should now put down the non-negotiable demand of a Lokpal with full control over investigation and prosecution, and for one law to operate nationally. However, it should accept differential methods of dealing with lower level corruption and citizen charters, giving the Lokpal a supervisory and advisory role in these areas.

Last August it seemed that India was finally going to get a tough anti-­corruption fighting body – well sele­cted, with powers of investigation and prosecution, and jurisdiction over the top rungs of ministers, legislators and bureaucrats. On the table were proposals to set up special courts to conclude cases within a short time frame, punishments were to be stiff, and assets gained through corruption were to be recovered. Anna Hazare had galvanised large sections of people ­including the youth, and got the support of influential voices in the media. He and his team had earlier secured an unprecedented place at the drafting table with senior ministers. The government accep­ted many of the suggestions from the ­Hazare team.

Differences remained on some important aspects, mainly relating to the extent of coverage by the Lokpal. The Hazare team wanted all government officers to be brought under one Lokpal, who would also handle all complaints of failure to implement the citizens charters spelling out duties of officers to the public. The government and many other social activists and commentators, differed on this aspect fundamentally on the ground that this would make for a gargantuan Lokpal, leading in turn to a potential for abuse of power by a body supervising both integrity and performance of the entire range of official machinery.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top