The second freedom struggle has begun, at least the media portraits it that way. News channels are refusing to show “any” other news except about Jan Lokpal. Which made me think, hey, if this is the case, how come news channel show the “breaking news” 24×7 on other days. Anyways… This article gives my view about Jan Lokpal bill drafted by civil society and discusses the shortcomings in this bill. Before you make any prejudice about this article, let me tell you I am for the strong lokpal bill. No one likes corruption, well except for one who is doing it, but yes..no one in front of camera likes corruption and we the aam aadmi want corruption to be burned and done away with once and for all.
The Lokpal bill has been introduced in parliament before. It has not been passed for last forty years. Reason, we all indians know too well, lack of political will of both the UPA and NDA govt (a decade ago NDA was in power). Karl Marx has suggested, revolution is not planned, it just happens when things become unbearable. This is what has happened now. The civil society has gathered, and drafted the Jan Lokpal bill against the Lokpal bill of govt. The govt. Lokpal bill was teethless and useless bill. Why would govt officials make a bill which will may destroy itself. The Jan Lokpal on opposite side is a super dog with pointed killing teeth.
In all the democratic countries, there are three institutions, Legislature, Judiciary and Administration. For most effective and unbiased working of democracy, these three institutions are supposed to keep check on each other so that none of them become super powerful. Ok, now where does the lokpal fits in these institutions..well, it doesn’t, it is either parallel or above all these institutions. That is boon for India because here, there is nexus in these three institutions to do corruption. But, there has to be other institution amongst Legislature, Judiciary or Administration which will put check on Lokpal.
There has been lot of hype in media, social networking sites about support to Jan Lokpal bill. Unfortunately most of those who support the bill have not read the Jan Lokpal bill and are unaware of things mentioned in it.
1. The prime issue which is raised is that of PM. Jan Lokpal bill says PM should be inside the its purview. The govt. says PM can be taken in lokpal’s purview after he retires from the post. Jayalalitha has defended the governments view by giving proper reasoning for that (interestingly none from the UPA has given reasons for why PM should not be in purview of lokpal), she says, “It would seriously dent the PM’s authority even if charges were proved wrong. The Prime Minister will be put on the defensive and he has to constantly defend himself. … Unless he is wrested with full powers, he cannot function. Nothing should erode or undermine the Prime Minister’s authority.” Moreover, the PM is face of India for the world. This would give wrong impression of the prime official of India to world. Also, it is not like he will never be prosecuted if he has done something wrong. The ex-PM would be tried by lokpal, and I think govt has taken very good stand on this issue.
2. In the functions and powers of jan lokpal includes that, after completion of investigation in any case involving an allegation of an act of corruption, to impose punishment of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank against government servants. The jan lokpal has given direct powers of dismissal or removal of employee. This power can be easily misused. Not by the lokpal but by someone who wants a govt employee to be removed, dismissed. It is very easy to frame someone. (Have you seen Singham? :p)
3. The type of cases jan lokpal will try will be complex judicial cases. Hence, jan lokpal should have majority of persons with legal background. But Jan Lokpal bill says there should be 4 out of 11 member who shall have “Legal Background” The govt. lokpal bill on other side recommended that there should be at least 50% of persons with legal background, which makes sense.
4. Jan Lokpal bill puts deadline for the trial of guilty. Which means the case should be dealt thoroughly by mentioned time frame and there is no other option but to give result by end of deadline. Which is neither feasible nor just. The govt. lokpal bill does not put any deadline on trial. Which is unacceptable. So, both the lokpal bills take polar views. Better thing would be giving time frame, and if, by the end of it the result is not declared a show cause notice should be given.
5. Notwithstanding anything in any other Act or Law the provisions of this Act shall prevail and to the extent that the provisions of this Act are repugnant to any other provision in any other Act or law, the provisions in other Acts or laws shall stand amended to the extent of such repugnancy. – Jan Lokpal. So, the acts which have been formulated by years of adaptations, the acts which has been formulated by representatives of people, the act which has been tried and tested by years and years, stands amended just because of this act which has been formulated by bunch of people which are not even people’s representative? It is simply unacceptable.
Does that mean I oppose Jan Lokpal bill. No. Absolutely not.
The Jan Lokpal bill though has taken extreme stands in above mentioned 5 points, it is very well drafted otherwise. The best part of this bill is the protection given to the whistle blower. It also includes the idea of civil + judicial persons at the lokpal panel, the lokayuktas etc. which was ignored by govt. The present Jan Lokpal draft is much evolved than the previous Jan Lokpal draft which was released in april. The clause of nobel and padma award winners in jan lokpal selection committee has thankfully done away with.
The present Jan Lokpal bill is also not perfect, it needs some more discussion. and the discussion should be in Parliament, the only institution which makes laws for India. I hope team Anna and govt. again come together and form a draft. I hope they pass a Jan Lokpal by rectifying the above mentioned shorcomings.
Let’s support Team Anna and take this first step toward corruption free India. But keep in mind, “The scariest times for a nation are when emotions ride over reason… When thinking is done by hearts instead of brains…When euphorias dictate laws.” RT @atul_kulkarni