Will appointing Lokayuktas and Lokpal curb corruption?
Will appointing Lokayuktas and Lokpal curb corruption?Is India truly on the path to fight corruption or is the current Jan Lokpal bill a mere pipe dream? Can the Jan Lokpal Bill appointed Lokayuktas succeed in fighting corruption? Retired Justice Virendra Singh was recently appointed the UP Lokayukta by an SC Bench. This marks the first time an apex court has taken the initiative of appointing the Lokayukta. But will justice be delivered or delayed and denied? Let’s find out.
What is the Jan Lokpal Bill?
This is also referred to as the citizen’s ombudsman bill and it aims to deter corruption and readdress citizens grievances while protecting whistleblowers. Lokpal stands for protector of the people in Sanskrit. The Bill envisages the establishment of an independent political ombudsman body called LokPal and an ombudsman called Lokayukta to ensure corruption’s evil menace is destroyed in India. Since April 2011, noted veteran civil activities Anna Hazare started a Satyagraha demanding the passage of the bill. The Bill has recently been passed, notably by the Delhi Assembly. Lokayuktas have also been appointed to curb corruption. But how far does this Bill go to ensure the buck ends here?
1. Lokpal is completely independent of the government: The central government anti corruption institution called Lokpal is supported by the Lokayukta at state level. In case of SC and Cabinet Secretariat, Lokpal will be supervised by Cabinet Secretary and EC. This means it is completely independent from the government and free of ministerial influence in investigations.
2. Members with clean record will be appointed: Members will be appointed by judges and will comprise principled IAS officers with clean records, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a process which promotes transparency and accountability.
3. Selection details will be shared with the public: A selection committee will video tape the shortlisted candidates and this will be made public to improve accountability and ensure quality control as well as public access to the nature of the appointees.
4. Cases will be discussed: Each month, Lokayukta will also present cases death with, brief details of each and outcome or action proposed. Pending cases will also be published. This will ensure that cases are actively discussed and remain in the public eye.
5. Timely completion of investigations: One of the biggest problems in corruption cases is that they tend to drag on for a long time. Jan Lokpal legislation prescribes that investigation of cases must be completed in 1 year, concluding trial in the following year and total maximum process time of two years. Justice delayed is justice denied The Lokayukta will work against this.
6. Conviction means recovery of losses too: Losses to the government by individuals who are corrupt will be recovered at the time of conviction. Moreover, if work is not completed in the prescribed time period by government officials, financial penalties will be imposed on them too.
7. Prompt investigation of complaints: Complaints against Lokpal officers will be investigated within a month and officer will be dismissed in 2 months if case is found to have merit
8. Officer, judge or political leaders can be independently investigated: Lokayuktas have the power to investigate officials as well as judges or political leaders without fear of reprisal
9. Whistleblowers will be protected: Jan Lokpal Bill and the appointment of Lokpal and Loyayukta will also help in protecting whistleblowers. The biggest problem in combating corruption from a legal angle is the lack of protection to whistleblowers. This will be amended by the Lokpal Bill.
1. Bill cannot work unless properly implemented: Laws are never implemented well in India. We need action, not more acts. Success can only be attained through proper implementation.
2. Clause prevents Lokpal from accessing corruption complaints: Common people cannot feel a corruption case as part of Lokpal because the latter has to access complaints through the Parliament. This will give control to scam tainted ministers.
3. Role of CBI ambiguous: It is not known if CBI will come under Lokpal or maintain its independent status. Loss of autonomy of the CBI is a big question overshadowing the Lokpal.
4. Officers are exempt from scrutiny: Government officers in the performance of their official duties are exempt from scrutiny of the Lokpal. This is counterproductive as large number of graft cases involve bureaucrats as main accused
5. Differences between CVC and Lokpal: While Lokpal will look into role of politicians, CVC will oversee and supervise conduct of bureaucrats. Who will resolve the differences between the two?
6. People use bribes to evade laws: Corruption exists because too many laws are not properly implemented. People who bribe will simply pay their way through, Lokpal or no Lokpal
7. Goes against democracy: Jan Lokpal Bill is non democratic because it takes the power away from representatives of the people. i.e Ministers.
8. Informed electorate can fight corruption better: Informed electorate and people with access to timely information can combat corruption provided they know their rights. How will Jan Lokpal ensure this?
9. RTI is a better method: Lokpal and Lokayukta involves too many procedural complications but RTI can be an effective tool in the hands of common people and activists in their quest for justice.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta system is not without its merit. But we have to work hard to ensure that Lokpal does not become Jokepal with people bribing their way through and making a mockery of the law. Ensuring this involves successful implementation and that is something India is not adept at. We already have many laws in place, but no one to enforce or regulate their implementation. Appointing one more officer to catch the corrupt is more likely to backfire. Igniting minds and encouraging people to be active in their fight against corruption is a surely better method.
- RE: Will appointing Lokayuktas and Lokpal curb corruption? -Deepa Kaushik (12/18/15)
- It would be a very big point to say appinting Lokayuktas and Lokapal would put an end to coruption. Corruption has spread its wings so widely in our country that it can’t be weeded out in a single go. We need to work a longer time in a much determined manner in order to put a full stop to corruption in India. We have travel a very long distance on the negative path of corruption and getting back would be definitely highly challenging.
The Lokpal Bill had been initiated as a step towards ceasing corruption. Appointment of Lokayuktas is the first step towards the path determined by the Jan Lokpal bill. We need to work out on this path now. Appointment of Lokayuktas is just the initiation and we need to work on our drawn lines. Lokpal and lokayuktas are expected to be public workers who would be sincere and dedicated towards the welfare of common man.
The expectations from the Lokayuktas are very similar to those from our representatives in the Government in the form of ministers, the various Government officials and other major authorities who are blamed for being corrupt in the present day. We have done our best and chosen the few left-out genuine aspirants among these authorities to serve as Lokayuktas who would work to curb corruption. If these Lokayuktas turn against the great motto of anti-corruption, that would be the pitfall in our movement against corruption.
Yet we need to gather courage and stand against every single corrupt person and those would be the common man who would make these appointments to be a success. It is not only the corrupt who take bribe; even the common man is losing moral and inclined towards giving bribe to get their work done in a easy manner. Precisely, the appointment of Lokayuktas and Lokpal are a bright ray of hope towards curbing corruption.