Whats is the Jan Lokpal Bill?Jan Lokpal has been derived from Hindi and Sanskrit, etymologically means protector of the people but keeping in mind the recent happening it could be better redefined as “protection for the people, by the people, to the people”.
Already existing bodies like CBI, CVC and other anti-corruption organizations for monitoring government activities are under government officials which leaves a question mark on the transparency and fairness of the trials against the officials for corruption and other complaints.
Lokpal as an autonomous body would infuse confidence in citizens regarding their say in the working of the government and increased accountability on the part of the government which is lacking in today's scenario.
Importance of Jan Lokpal BillEver increasing incidents of scandals and politicians, bureaucrats and other officials involved in corruption are meant to be put to a halt through the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is not that the Lokpal Bill has been proposed in India for the first time but the unimaginable figures of corruption coming to light after the commonwealth games 2011 made its implementation all the more necessary. With the initial budget of 11500, crores the budget for the games increased to a sky high 60000 crores. Meanwhile, the charges of corruption were escalated with an equal speed against the organizers of the games with Suresh Kalmadi being accused of partiality while giving contracts for the games. The delay in the projects and the poor quality of the work done were other indicators of inefficiency of the government.
People of the country were already fed up of the rising inflation and the information that money extracted out of their pockets was not being spent by the government in the rightful manner was enough to add fuel to the already existing fire in the hearts of the people. What they needed was a leader who could champion their cause against the corrupt government and Anna Hazare proved to be one.
People realized that the implementation of the bill can actually be the solution to the otherwise incurable issue of corruption & that the bill can even question the Prime Minister, the government and the authorities which they had accepted were unquestionable. This ray of hope made everyone rise in protest against all those denying the implementation of the bill.
The Salient Features of the Lokpal Bill in Comparison to the Government’s Bill
|Government’s Bill||Jan Lokpal Bill|
|The major issue of disagreement between the government and the supporters of the Lokpal Bill is the inclusion of Prime Minister under the Lokpal. Government insists on not including the PM in the Lokpal Bill. It also is against the inclusion of Judiciary, MP’s and all Public servants.||The bill states that Prime Minister MP’s and all public servants (not only group-A officers) could be questioned by the Lokpal and a necessary action can be taken in case he is found guilty of charges levied against him.|
|Government insists on keeping CBI a separate entity and not letting it to come under the Lokpal.||According to the Lokpal Bill CBI would come under the Lokpal|
|Under the government’s bill Lokpal cannot decide on punishments to be given to the accused and can only refer the matters to the courts||Lokpal Bill proposes that the Lokpal can either refer to the courts or take the necessary action or both as per the situation demands.|
|According to the Government’s Lokpal Bill, members of Lokpal will themselves conduct enquiries in case of any charges against them.||This bill states that the retired Supreme Court judges and representatives of people will conduct enquiries on the suspicious actions of any member.|
|Under this, All the anti-corruption bodies at the state levels will function along with the Lokpal and Lokpal would be allowed to handle only limited cases of corruption.||Lokpal will investigate all the cases of corruption and the other state bodies against corruption would be rendered inactive.|
|The utmost punishment for corruption is a jail term of 10 years.||The supporters of the Lokpal are adamant to increase this duration to a life time imprisonment in cases of corruption.|
|There would be 10 members in the committee out of which 6 would be politicians.||There would be 7 members, out of which two would be politicians, 4 judges and a head of 2 independent constitutional authorities.|
Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal Bill
The name of Anna Hazare has become synonymous with Jan Lokpal Bill .Thousands of people all across the country have joined Anna Hazare in his battle against the monster named corruption and enforcement of the bill. The bill was first introduced in 1968 has gained prominence only because of the efforts of Anna Hazare. The Government and Anna Hazare are not able to come to terms with each other over several matters. Anna Hazare has a connection with the crowd like no other social activist has ever had before in the recent times. Some people are even comparing Hazare to Mahatma Gandhi. Government is on the back foot because of the massive support to Hazare who is not ready to come out of the jail where he was sent to avoid his hunger strike; unless his demands are met. People of the country under all age groups are holding meetings and demonstrations of protest against the government in all parts of the country and shouting loud the slogans in support of Hazare. This time people are making sure they get their voices heard.