New Delhi, Apr 6 : Veteran activist Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death gathered steam on its second day as he pressed for a stronger anti-graft Lok Pal Bill through greater involvement of civil society - a protest he has dubbed as the second Satyagraha.
Hazare wants equal representation from civil society in drafting the Lok Pal Bill.
The debate on some of the proposals put forward by both Hazare and the government on the contentious bill that has been lying in the freezer for 43 years has gathered momentum.
Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from public. It would probe only complaints forwarded by the Lok Sabha Speaker or Rajya Sabha Chairman.
It will enable the ruling party to protect its own. Lokpal will be an advisory body. It will forward its enquiry report to “competent authority”, which will have the final say. If Lokpal made a report against the PM, will Parliament ever pass a resolution to prosecute him?
No police powers to Lokpal. All its probes will tantamount to “preliminary enquiries”. Even if its report is accepted, who will file chargesheet?
No mention of the CBI’s role after the Bill is enacted. Will CBI lose its powers to investigate politicians? Mild punishment for corruption - minimum 6 months, maximum 7 years. No provision to recover ill-gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and use the money
ANNA HAZARE'S PROPOSAL:
Lokpal will have powers to initiate investigations suo motu in any case and directly entertain complaints from the public. It will not need reference or permission from anyone to initiate investigation into any case.
Lokpal will not be an advisory body. It will have powers to initiate prosecution against anyone after completion of investigations in a case. It will also have powers to order disciplinary proceedings against any government servant. Lokpal will have police powers. It will be able to register FIRs, proceed with criminal investigations and launch prosecution.
The anti-corruption wing of the CBI will be merged with Lokpal so that there is just one independent body to act against graft.
Enhanced punishment - minimum 5 years, maximum life imprisonment.
Loss caused to the government owing to corruption will be recovered from all the accused.
HISTORY OF THE BILL:
The first mention of an anti-corruption ombudsman (Lokpal) was made in the early 1960s when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister.
But it was in 1966 that a Lokpal was proposed at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states. In 1968, a Lokpal Bill was presented for the first time in the fourth Lok Sabha. The House passed it in 1969. But while it was pending, LS was dissolved.
The Bill was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998 and 2001. But each time, it was referred to some committee of Parliament. The government has now prepared a rough draft of the Bill.
A fresh movement for an effective Lokpal began in 2010 after a series of scams. An alternative draft - Jan Lokpal Bill - was prepared by activists India Against Corruption under the guidance of Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan.