After much opposition, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 has been passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, following which anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare ended his fast.
Some of the main provisions of the amended Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill:
Lokayukta - Each state should set up Lokayuktas by law within 365 days. But the states will have the freedom to determine the nature and type of Lokayukta.
Penalty - Public servants can face imprisonment up to 7 years. While criminal misconduct and habitually abetting corruption can attract jail term up to 10 years.
Jurisdiction - The Prime Minister, ministers, current and former legislators, government employees, employees of firms funded or controlled by Centre, societies and trusts that collect public money, receive funds from foreign sources come under the purview of the anti-corruption law. However, bodies creating endowments for or performing religious or charitable functions have been excluded.
Investigation - All anti-corruption inquiry should be completed within 60 days and investigation has to be completed within 6 months. The Lokpal shall order a probe only after hearing the public servant. While an inquiry against the PM has to be held in-camera and will have to be approved by two-thirds of full bench of Lokpal.
Prosecution - Lokpal can initiate prosecution through its Prosecution Wing before the Special Court and the trial has to be completed within two years.
The amended Lokpal Bill, however, seems to have missed out on some major points that were raised in the original Jan Lokpal Bill, for which Anna (Read: Has Anna Betrayed the People?) had spearheaded the mass movement.
Some of points that are different from what were raised in the Jan Lokpal Bill:
What the Nation asked and what the leaders have approved
What Jan Lokpal Bill had demanded
What Lokpal And Lokayuktas Bill,2011 gives
The "Whistleblower" should be protected. Hence the Lokpal should have the power to take necessary action to provide protection to a whistleblower as per various provisions of the Act.
No Whistleblower protection. Instead, a whistlerblower may face imprisonment up to one year and a fine up to Rs. 1 lakh,if it is established he has made false and frivolous complaints.
Merger of anti-corruption branch of CBI into Lokpal and the Central Government should not have any control over the transferred part.
Director of CBI will be appointed by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India. Also the CBI officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal can be transferred without its approval.
The bill must have provision for a Citizen's Charter
The government now wants to bring a separate bill for Citizen's Charter but no time frame has been announced.
The Chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a seven-member committee, consisting of two Supreme Court judges, two High Court judges, one nominee of Comptroller And Auditor General,Central Vigilance Commissioner,Central Election Commissioner, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition.
The Chairperson and Members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of a Selection Committee consisting of (a) the Prime Minister -chairperson;(b) the Speaker of the House of the People - member;(c) the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People -member;(d) the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him - member; (e) one eminent jurist nominated by the President as recommended by the chairperson and members referred to in clauses (a) to (d).