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COVER STORY OF JAN LOKPAL

Indiatoday is facing a widespread disease in its administrative government functioning known as CORRUPTION. The very prevalence of the disease is due to its nature and strength to influence the human mind. It poses a challenge to the moral, ethical and behavioural conduct of humans.
It has a fascination towards the human social needs and an ability to penetrate through the system quickly which lacks a strong mechanism to fight and curb it. This can threat a country’s dignity and reputation. In spite of all the efforts towards making the government administrative functions free from its spread, it has been receiving overwhelming figures in scams every year. The very question stands, that where is the loophole or if an appropriate antidote has been devised till date to fight the menace? The answer is “yes”, the antidote has been devised long back and it is the Lok Pal Bill. To understand the very functioning and nature of the Lok Pal, one definitely has to go through its base in the Constitution of India and its very nature. Let us have a look at the present and proposed Lok Pal bill of the Civil Society and its difference, also eventual effect upon the system.
EXISTING SYSTEM-
• -No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because  Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government.
• –Before starting investigation or initiating prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.
• -No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.
• -No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges. Nowhere to go – People expose corruption but no action is taken on their complaints.
• -There is so much corruption within CBI and vigilance departments. Their functioning is so secret that it encourages corruption within these agencies.
• -Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of anti-corruption agencies. •-Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complaint to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.
• –Nothing in law to recover ill gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.
• -Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years
.

SYSTEM PROPOSED BY CIVIL SOCIETY-

• –Lokpal at centre and Lokayukta at state level will be independent bodies. ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission
• –Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year. Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.
• –Lokpal and Lokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged into Lokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.
• –Lokpal & Lokayukta shall have powers to investigate and prosecute any judge without needing anyone’s permission.
• –Lokpal & Lokayukta will have to inquire into and hear every complaint.
• -All investigations in Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be transparent. After completion of investigation, all case records shall be open to public. Complaint against any staff of Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be inquired and punishment announced within two months.

• –Politicians will have absolutely no say in selections of Chairperson and members of Lokpal & Lokayukta. Selections will take place through a transparent and public participatory process.
• –Lokpal & Lokayukta will get public grievances resolved in time bound manner, impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay to be deducted from the salary of guilty officer and award that amount as compensation to the aggrieved citizen.
• -Loss caused to the government due to corruption will be recovered from all accused.
• –Enhanced punishment – The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

THE VERDICT-


Now if we make an evaluation of the proposals of the civil society , a very effective bill has been proposed taking into consideration the very nature and aspects of the corruption in the Government administration , the point that has to be noted here are very clearly mentioned in the draft itself , that the bodies like CBI and ACB will be made independent of the government administrative control , hence making them more liberal and free in carrying out the investigation proceedings against the government officials and politicians. Moreover, Lok Pal has been made much more powerful in terms of taking any immediate action after the establishment of the facts against the officer concerned. He has been conferred the powers of their dismissal which is not present in the existing system .Lok Pal can initiate inquiry against judges accused of misconduct/misbehaviour without the consent of the Chief Justice. The investigative proceedings have been kept extremely transparent in nature. It is clearly stated that after the investigations transparency will be maintained and all the records will be made public (also through the website). The selection of the Lok Pal at the centre and the Lok Ayukt at the state level will be transparent and with public participation. With the whole process being transparent and in the public domain, there will be no room for any confidentiality of the matter under investigation and henceforth leaving no room for corruption to take place. Under the new draft proposed by the civil society , specific provisions have been kept for recovery of misappropriated money . The Punishment has also been increased to a minimum of 5 years and max life imprisonment. Therefore, it is pertinent that a strong draft has been prepared and the intentions of the draft makers have been very serious towards curbing corruption in all the areas, i.e. procedure, process and punishment.

I leave it for the readers now to pose questions and queries regarding this and initiate a room for discussion as to which system would be better or rather to say that which antidote will work much effectively.

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AUTHOR : Ankur Mudgal
E-mail Address: uniquegy007@gmail.com

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Lokpal bill: our first step!

On 15th August, 1947, the day when India became a free nation, approximately five lakh Indians gathered outside the ‘Viceroy’s House to ‘witness the historic event of ushering in the freedom of India at the hour of midnight’. They all had a dream in their eyes and a desire to undertake a journey of which independence was the first step -a step that devoured 200 years of our nation.

On the eve of Independence Day, while watching a documentary on a news channel, a sudden thought passed through my mind: what aspirations did our countrymen had that night while witnessing the first time hoisting of our Indian flag on the grounds of Viceroy’s House? What India did they build during that one single moment of pride? In my opinion, their dream involved a democratic nation where every man has an equal say. A nation that is prosperous economically, socially, culturally and above all else they desired a strong political system that is responsible for safeguarding the above-mentioned interests.

No doubt India is prospering if not with a speed of light, but definitely with a speed of sound, but can we say the same for our political system? If we look at the present scenario, we’ll observe that our belief in our nation’s political system has declined at every step and in 2011 it completely shattered, thanks to those record breaking scams and a spectacular murder of democracy in case of Anna Hazare by our honorable government and Delhi police.

To put it straightforwardly our political system has become so dirty and stinky that the

Gems of our nation like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, etc, do not want to be a part of it at any cost. They will rather fight from the outside, but they will not take the trouble of cleansing the whole system from the inside. This is the present condition of our money sucking, corruption-nurturing political system.

Now amidst all this, even if Anna’s lokpal bill is passed, can we ensure at least 90% corruption free system?

I doubt because lokpal bill is again just an intangible system and from our past experience we know that our leaders and administrators have never shown any respect for the system. So, even after implementing a strong lokpal bill our ‘brainstorming and highly skilled’ leaders will again invent some new loopholes, thus, undermining our efforts to curb corruption.

So what purpose will lokpal bill actually serve?

Like our independence, lokpal bill will act as a first step towards our fight against corruption.
People may then ask- what should our second step be?

To answer this question I’d like to quote Amir Khan’s blockbuster Rang de Basanti’s famous dialogue:-
“koi bhi desh perfect nai hota …usse perfect bnana padta hai
Police main bharti honge, military join karenge, IAS banenge,
Politics ka hissa banke iss desh ki sarkar chalaenge yeh desh badelega
Hum badlenge isse ……”

Though today, Anna is enjoying our full support, but we cannot deny the fact that his method of improving our nation is incorrect. Blackmailing the government is no solution. It’s ironical to see that people who stand in the elections are always seen as corrupt and undeserving while the people who appear deserving and honest refuse to be a part of our political system.

So let’s take a pledge today and resolve to ourselves that if we really want to be a citizen of a prospering nation we will first become a selfless integral part of its government.

Jai hind …..!!!!!!

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