The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill lapsed. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, but none of them were passed.
In 2011, during the Parliament’s Winter Session, the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Lokpal Bill, but could not be passed by Rajya Sabha due to shortage of time in the winter session of 2011. Government has not put Lokpal bill again in Rajya Sabha
Timeline and cost:
The Lokpal Bill has been introduced in the Parliament a total of eight times since 1968.
1968 – ₹ 3 lakh (300,000)
1971 – ₹ 20 lakh (2 million)
1977 – ₹ 25 lakh (2.5 million)
1985 – ₹ 25 lakh
1989 – ₹ 35 lakh (3.5 million) – PM under lokpal
1996 – ₹ 1 crore (10 million) – PM under lokpal
2001 – ₹ 35 crore (350 million) – PM under lokpal
2011 – ₹ 1700 crore (17 billion)
2012 – ₹ 2000 crore (20 billion)
Current anti-corruption laws and organizations:
Main article: Corruption in India#Anti-Corruption Laws in India
While India currently has a number of laws intended to stem corruption, supporters of the Jan Lokpal Bill have argued that the current laws are inadequate in light of the large number and size of scandals in India.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
Main article: Central Vigilance Commission
CVC has a staff strength of between 200 and 250 employees. If one went by international standards, India needs 28 anti-corruption staff in CVC to check corruption of 57 lakh employees.
There has been considerable delay in many cases for grant of sanction for prosecution against corrupt government officials. The permission to prosecute such officials acts as a deterrent in the drive to eradicate corruption and bring transparency in the system.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
Main article: Central Bureau of Investigation
Because the CBI is under the control of the central government, it needs a go-ahead from central agencies to initiate criminal proceedings. By then, the accused can take advantage of such a situation. He can get time to pressure the complainant and intimidate him so that the case be withdrawn.
In the Jan Lokpal Bill, it is proposed that both of these wings be merged into the Lokpal. This would enable the Lokpal to be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations in.
The bill was inspired by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). In the 1970s, the level of corruption in Hong Kong was seen so high, that the government created the commission with direct powers to investigate and deal with corruption. In the first instance, the ICAC sacked 119 out of 180 police officers.[where?] Key features of proposed bill
Some important features of the proposed bill are:
To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
As is the case with the Supreme Court of India and Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission. As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations.
Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
A selection committee will invite short-listed candidates for interviews, the video recordings of which will thereafter be made public.
Every month on its website, the Lokayukta will publish a list of cases dealt with, brief details of each, their outcome and any action taken or proposed. It will also publish lists of all cases received by the Lokayukta during the previous month, cases dealt with and those which are pending.
Investigations of each case must be completed in one year. Any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year, giving a total maximum process time of two years.
Losses to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
Government office-work required by a citizen that is not completed within a prescribed time period will result in Lokpal imposing financial penalties on those responsible, which will then be given as compensation to the complainant.
Complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within one month and, if found to be substantive, will result in the officer being dismissed within two months.
The existing anti-corruption agencies [CVC], departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the [CBI] will be merged into Lokpal which will have complete power authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
Whistle-blowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.