Harish Jharia

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18 August 2011

What Is Lokpal: Why Indian Government is scared to add Prime Minister, Judiciary and the conduct of MPs in the Parliament…?

Ashburn, Virginia, USA

What is Lokpal?

Lokpal is a proposed authority like CBI that will be authorized and responsible for investigating cases of corruption and black money. It will be responsible for collecting information and evidences against the culprits and file legal cases in the courts of law. The lawyers of the Lokpal will also be responsible for fighting the cases in the courts and ensure that the culprits are appropriately punished and the embezzled money and property is confiscated from the culprits

I would emphasize the fact that the Lokpal will not be empowered to punish or imprison the culprit. Their job will be limited to the actions described in the preceding paragraph. 
A bill is required to be drafted for constituting the Lokpal and submitted the same to the parliament for the consideration of the house. The parliament in turn will approve the same in order to make it a law and publication of a gazette notification by the Government of India. This be followed by the final process of appointing the Lokpal, making the infrastructure of the office and recruiting personnel for the same just like the office of the CBI. 

The Lokpal bill was first submitted by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But it did not get through in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India because of the noncooperation by the members of parliament who voted for the same. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008 but none of them could be passed. Obviously, the politicians in the lower and upper houses of Indian parliament did not let the bill pass. 

What are the reasons for rejection of the bill in parliament?

Following are the few points / provisions in the proposed Lokpal bill that are not agreed to by the members of parliament. Following are the proposed provisions for which the recent drafting committee could not reach to an amicable conclusion:
  1. Prime Minister can be investigated with the permission of seven member Lokpal bench
  2. Judiciary can be investigated, though high level members may be investigated only with permission of a seven member Lokpal bench
  3. Members of Parliament can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench
  4. All public servants of lower bureaucracy would be investigated

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