Friday, 28 April 2017

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013

The term "Lokpal" was coined by Dr. L.M.Singhvi in 1963. The concept of a constitutional ombudsman was first proposed in parliament by Law Minister Ashoke Kumar Sen in the early 1960s. The first Jan Lokpal Bill was proposed by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969, but did not pass through the Rajya Sabha. Subsequently, 'lokpal bills' were introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, and again in 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, yet they were never passed. Forty five years after its first introduction, the Lokpal Bill is finally enacted in India on Dec 18, 2013.

The anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare forced previous UPA government to enact Lokpal Bill. Forty five years after its first introduction, the Lokpal bill got finally enacted in India on Dec 18, 2013. The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 seeks to provide for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters. The act extends to whole of India, including Jammu & Kashmir and is applicable to “public servants” within and outside India. The act mandates for creation of Lokpal for Union and Lokayukta for states.

Modi government, which pronounces reforms at the fall of hat without even understanding what they are doing, has been dodging on the matter of appointing Lokpal on the silly pretext that the current Lok Sabha does not have a Leader of Opposition to sit on the selection panel, even after four years of passing the Act. 

On April 27, 2017, the Supreme Court of India told Modi government at the Centre that there was “no justification” to keep the enforcement of the Lokpal Act 2013 suspended. SC made it clear that the appointment of Chairperson or a Member of the Lokpal will not become invalid merely because of the reason of any vacancy in the selection committee. If, at present, the LOP is not available, the Chairperson and the other two members of the Selection Committee, namely, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee may proceed to appoint an eminent jurist as a member of the Selection Committee.

Modi, in consultation with leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India (CJI), didn’t finalize the name of a full-fledged director for the CBI in advance when Anil Sinha retired on Dec 2, 2016. It is because his government is not on good terms with CJI, Justice TS Thakur. On Jan 19, 2017 Modi government appointed AK Verma, Delhi’s Police Commissioner, as Director of the CBI only after Justice T S Thakur retired on Jan 4, 2017

On Dec 18, 2013, Anna Hazare broke his nine-day fast shortly after Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal Bill. Looking a bit frail yet brimming with enthusiasm after the landmark bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, Hazare thanked all parties, barring Samajwadi Party, for their support. He had been crusading for anti-corruption ombudsman for long and had forced passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha in 2011. The 76-year-old Gandhian said mere enactment of the law would not serve the purpose "The law will be meaningless unless it is implemented and enforced properly..". Hazare thanked everybody who looked after him during the hunger strike, his fourth for Lokpal, chose not to make any mention of Arvind Kejriwal and others who played a role in building the movement.

In Aug 04 2011 when bill was introduces in Lok Sabha, BJP objected for exclusion of Prime Minister saying that when the PM does not enjoy immunity from prosecution under the criminal law and prevention of corruption Act, why is he being kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal. BJP also maintained that as per the constitution, everybody was equal and there is no immunity from IPC, CrPC or the Prevention of Corruption Act. The then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has himself said he wants to be within its ambit, but the Cabinet did not agree.

Ever since demonetization in Nov 2016, Modi talks about black money menace and elimination of corruption and orders IT, CBI & ED raids only on BJP opponents almost everyday, but shuns appointing Lok Pal & Lok Ayukthas for over 4 years, speaks volumes about his sincerity and reflects his no will to walk the talk. What he is doing now to fight corruption is - nothing, only 'headlines management'.

My View:
Modi suffers from worst possible type of corruption; an insatiable desire for personal glory at any cost; an extremely deep moral and spiritual corruption. Modi belongs to the line of autocratic ideologues rather than the western tradition of revolutionary neo liberalism, or marxist rationalism. He also represents the worst aspect of democracy: a demagogue who caters to an irrational populace’s cravings for self-identity and release from self-responsibility. He might not have taken any bribes in recent years but there is no way he could have risen to his position without having made massive and horrendous economic & moral compromises.
... as described by Jayant Bhandari in

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