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- Mahatma Gandhi (1928)
India is a country where honesty and integrity in public and private life have been glorified and upheld in great epics such as the Vedas, Upanishads and in the books and practices of every religion practiced here.
Yet, India today is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
Bringing public servants under a scanner which makes them strictly accountable is the start of a movement against corruption in India. And one significant step in attacking the spectre of corruption in India will be the implementation of the LOK PAL BILL.
This Bill is an outcome of the findings of the Santhanam Committee for the Prevention of Corruption. The Administrative Reforms Commission in their interim report Problem of Redress of Citizens recommended the setting up of the institution of Lokpal in 1966. The LOK PAL BILL provides for speedy trials of corrupt practices by parliamentarians.
Despite the fact that the LOK PAL BILL appears on the election manifesto of every major political party, 40 years later Indias parliamentarians are still dragging their feet over the implementation of the Bill.
The Lok Pal Bill has been introduced 8 times in as many Lok Sabhas and has been put to an unnatural death thereafter.
In 2001 this Bill was passed by the BJP cabinet, and then rejected in Parliament.
In 2004 the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself admitted soon after the UPA Government came into power that the need for the Lokpal is much more urgent at present than ever before and promised to take effective action without further delay
AS ON DATE, THIS BILL HAS STILL NOT BEEN PASSED.
CORRUPTION KILLS THE COUNTRY AND EVERY CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY.
AS RESPONSIBLE VOTERS AND CITIZENS OF INDIA, LET US MAKE A START IN HELPING OUR COUNTRY DEAL WITH AND ELIMINATE CORRUPTION!!
LET US PUT PEOPLE PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PASS THE LOK PAL BILL!!
SALIENT FEATURES OF THE LOKPAL BILL.
The Lokpal Bill (Bill No 90 of 1998) provides for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries and for matters connected therewith.
It was enacted by Parliament in the Forty Ninth year of the Republic of India.
The competent authority as defined in s 2 means
In relation to:
The Prime Minister, the House of People
A member of the Council of ministers, other than the Prime Minister, the prime Minister
A member of Parliament other than a Minister, means the Council of States in the case of a member of that Council and the House of the People in the case of a member of that House.
The Lokpal Act, 1998 seeks to provide for setting up office of Lokpal with a Chairperson & two members for fixed terms of three years or until attainment of age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
The Lokpal under s 3 shall consist of a Chairperson who is or has been a Chief Justice or a Judge of the spreme Court, and 2 members who are or have been Judges of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justices of the High Courts.
Lokpal will inquire into complaints filed by any persons other than Public Servant, alleging that public functionaries have committed an offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Cl 15 provides that the Lokpal shall have all the powers of a civil court for summoning and enforcing attendance, receiving evidence and issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.
Lokpal shall not have any jurisdiction to conduct any inquiry into any allegation against the President, Vice-President or the Speaker of the House, the CJ or any other Judge of Supreme court ,the comptroller and Auditer-genral of India, the Chief Election Commissioner or other Election Commissioners or the chairman or any other Member of the UPSC.[S.30]
Cl 11 provides that the Lokpal shall not inquire into any matter concerning any person if the Chairperson or any Member has a bias in respect of any such matter or person
After conducting Preliminary scrutiny of complaints Lokpal can conduct inquiry .
Inquiry is to be conducted in open court, and under special circumstances may be conducted in camera.
Expeditious completion of inquiry within six months from date of receipt the complaint
No obligation on Lokpal to maintain secrecy or restriction upon disclosure of information[s.15(3)]
After completion of inquiry the Lokpal shall communicate its findings to the complainant, the public functionary and the competent authority.
Under s 17 (1), after the conclusion of the inquiry the Lokpal shall determine whether any of the offenses alleged in the complaint have or has been proved to the satisfaction and by a report in writing shall communicate its findings to the complainant, the public functionary and the competent authority.
(2) The Speaker, in the case of the Prime Minister or a member of the House of the People and the Chairman of the Counsil of States in a case of a member of that Council shall as soon as may be after the receipt of report under sub section 1 of s 17 cause the same to be laid before the House of the People, or the Council of States as the case may be, while it is in session, and if the House of the People or the Council of States, as the case may be, is not in session, within a period of one week from the reassembly of the said House or the Council as the case may be .
(3) The competent authority shall examine the report forwarded to it under sub section (1) and communicate to the Lokpal, within a period of 90 days from the date of receipt of the report, the action taken or proposed to be taken on the basis of the report.
(4) The Lokpal shall present annually to the President a consolidated report on the administration of this Act and the President shall as soon as may be after and in any case no later than 90 days from the receipt of such report, cause the same, together with an explanatory memorandum to be laid before each House of parliament.