Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The difference between 'Lokpal' and 'Jan Lokpal' Bill

What is the Jan Lokpal Bill?
It is the draft of an anti-corruption bill created by important members of civil society (non-government).

Who drafted the Jan Lokpal Bill?
The bill was drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (former Supreme Court Judge), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist).

What is the aim of the Jan Lokpal Bill?
The bill’s aim is to appoint a Lokpal at the centre. The Lokpal is an independent body that will investigate corruption cases and send a corrupt politician, officer or judge to jail within 2 years and confiscate his/her wealth.
It also aims to take legal action against politicians and bureaucrats without government permission or interference.

What is Anna Hazare’s role in the Jan Lokpal Bill?
Anna Hazare is a social worker who wants the government to immediately adopt the Jan Lokpal Bill.
He went on a fast-unto-death in April 2011 which forced the government to set up a Joint Committee consisting of both govt. officers and civil society members to draft up a final Bill.
He went on a fast again on August 16, 2011 to demand the government to accept the original Jan Lokpal Bill and not the government’s version of the Bill which Anna’s supporters refer to as the ‘Jokepal Bill’.

How will the Jan Lokpal bill help the common man?
If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
Citizens can also report any case of corruption to Lokpal, like poor quality roads, rations being drained our, government officer accepting bribes etc. The Lokpal will have to investigate and send the guilty to jail within 2 years.
The Lokpal will provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.

What are the main differences between the Jan Lokpal Bill and the government’s Lokpal Bill?
1) Power to take action
Jan Lokpal: The Lokpal will have power to initiate action on its own or receive complaints of corruption directly from the public.
Govt Lokpal: The Lokpal will have NO power to initiate action on its own. It can only investigate complaints forwarded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairman of the Raja Sabha and not from the general public.

2) Power to take legal action
Jan Lokpal: Lokpal will have power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.
Govt Lokpal: Lokpal will only be an ‘Advisory Body’ and will forward reports to another ‘Competent Authority’.

3)Police Power
Jan Lokpal: Lokpal will have police powers and the power to file an FIR.
Govt Lokpal: Lokpal will have no police powers and no power to register FIRs.

4) CBI
Jan Lokpal: The Lokpal and anti-corruption wing of CBI will be one independent body.
Govt Lokpal: The CBI and Lokpal will be separate.

5) PM, Judiciary, MPs
Jan Lokpal: The Prime Minister, the judiciary and the Members of Parliament can be investigated by the Lokpal.
Govt Lokpal: PM, Judiciary and MPs’ behaviour in Parliament, cannot be investigated by the Lokpal.

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