Appoint LOKPAL, get our votes
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A Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman who represents the public interest.The Lokpal has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament and central government employees in cases of corruption. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was passed in 2013 with amendments in parliament, following the Jan Lokpal movement led by Anna Hazare in 2011. The Lokpal is responsible for enquiring into corruption charges at the national level while the Lokayukta performs the same function at the state level.
As of January 2019, and ever since the related Act of Parliament was passed in India, the Indian Government is yet to appoint a Lokpal. The official reason given is that Lokpal appoinment can be made only with a committee comprising of, among others, Leader of Opposition in the parliament. Since no party in the current parliament has requisite numbers (55 members or 1/10 of total seats) to appoint a Leader of Opposition, Lokpal cannot be appointed.
Features of the Jan Lokpal Bill
- An institution called Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in each state will be set up.
- Like the Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
- Cases against corrupt people will not linger on for years anymore: investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in the next one year, so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.
- The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
- How will it help a common citizen? If the work of any citizen is not done in a prescribed time, in any government office, Lokpal will impose a financial penalty on the guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
- So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card had not been made, or if the police are not registering your case, or if any other work is not being done within the prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month's time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal, like rations being siphoned off, poor quality roads being constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off.
- But won't the government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That won't be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
- What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
- What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, the departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of the CBI, will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
- It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.
Here is a simple solution:
- Vote for the party that unconditionally promises to appoint Lokpal within a month of coming to power.
Elections are coming, parties want votes. And that is our power. A vote is a voice, and in a democracy, voices can be loud. Together, lets speak truth to power, for a better India.
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