The combat of passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill still continues. The bill was first drafted and introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed by the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill was vanished in the backwoods. The successive versions of the bill were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008, but by no means saw the end of the tunnel in any of the years and in a way lost its relevance. The swift increase in corruption in the recent years has led the people of the civil society to demand for the Jan Lokpal bill to be again sited in the Parliament in 2011. However, it is a poignant repetition of the 1969 anecdote the Bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
In April 2011, the brawl against corruption started under the leadership of Anna Hazare. It was a necessary movement in India for annihilation of the deep rooted social evil called corruption. The Jan Lokpal Bill also referred to as citizen’s ombudsman bill is something that the citizens of the civil society actually want. The Jan Lokpal Bill is an act to make effective anti-corruption and gripe redressal systems at centre so that effectual disincentive is created against corruption and to provide effective shield to whistleblowers. The facet of the Jan Lokpal bill is to institute a central government anti-corruption institutions viz. Lokpal at the center and Lokayukta at the state level wherein the Supreme Court and the Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be overseen by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission therefore, it will be utterly independent of the government and liberated from ministerial manipulation in its investigations, members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a translucent and participatory procedure, a selection committee will invite short-listed candidates for interviews, video recordings of which will subsequently be made public, the Lokayukta, each month will publish a list of cases dealt with on its website, 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 imminent; investigations of every case must be accomplished in one year and any ensuing trials should be finished in the following year, giving a total utmost process time of two years, fatalities to the government by a corrupt person will be recovered at the time of conviction, Government office-work requisite for a citizen that is not concluded within a given time period, as a result the Lokpal will entail pecuniary penalties on those accountable, which will then be given as damages to the accuser, complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within month, if found to be substantive, will result in dismiss the officer within two months, the existing anti-corruption agencies [CVC], departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the [CBI] will be amalgamated into Lokpal which will have complete power authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician and above all, the whistleblowers who are vigilant agency headed for latent corruption cases will also be given protection by it.
The people of Civil Society were stern of having the original form in ‘Jan Lokpall Bill’, while the Government shored up a revised version accepted as the Lokpal Bill. The Jan Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public, which was not a part of the government’s draft. It was suggested that the Jan Lokpal will have police powers but the Government’s draft did not provide of any police powers. Under the Jan Lokpal the Prime Minister can be investigated with acquiescence of seven Lok Sabha members whereas The Prime Minister can be scrutinized by the Lokpal only after resigning from the office. The Jan Lokpal was deliberate as ‘supreme’ authority, which will have the right to prosecute the responsible; which the Government’s draft did not advocate for and recommended that it will be just an advisory body. Punishments of those found guilty under Jan Lokpal will range from 10 years to life imprisonment according to the graveness of the remorse but the Government’s draft had minimum punishment for 6 years and maximum for 7 years. Moreover in Jan Lokpal the anticorruption wing of CBI would be made an independent body, but the Government’s draft had both Lokpal and CBI separate. According to the Jan Lokpal, complaints against Lokpal staff will be handled by independent boards, set-up in each state, composed of retired bureaucrats, judges, and civil society members whereas the Government Lokpal will conduct inquiries into its own behavior. According to Jan Lokpal Lokayukta and other local/state anti-corruption agency would remain in place while the Government Lokpal demand closing of the Lokayukta and other local/state anti-corruption agency and endow all the power in the center.
There are several more discrepancies amid both the Bills, however, after a lot of hue and cry finally the bill was placed and passed in the Lok Sabha but failed to get it passed in the Rajya Sabha. Undoubtedly the Government Lokpal bill is not granted with the constitutional status, does it still have the power to eradicate the deep rooted social evil , corruption and take India to a ‘New Level’ i.e. “A CORRUPTION FREE NATION” ??