This blog post aims to discuss my views and opinions, thoughts and ideas on the Jan Lokpal Bill. The views presented here are with due respects to your opinion.
- An ombudsman is a government appointee who investigates complaints by private persons against the government.
- A government official who hears and investigates complaints by private citizens against other officials or government agencies.
- A commissioner who acts as independent referee between individual citizens and their government or its administration.
- The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Departmental Vigilance (DV) - responsible for managing vigilance aspect of the corruption cases.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation - responsible for managing the criminal aspect of the corruption cases.
Regarding the CVC
- Lack of adequate resources - limited to less than 200 people.
- Just an advisory body - cannot enforce or ensure action.
- Cannot initiate independent action or inquiries against people beyond a certain level.
- Cannot register criminal cases.
- Cannot have any power over department vigilance wing.
- Appointment to the CVC is done by the ruling party.
- Officers responsible for vigilance are a part of the same department. This impacts their independence.
- Similar to the CVC, it cannot initiate independent action.
- No powers against politicians.
- It is overburdened.
- Under the control of Central Government of India.
- Assumed to be unfair - since it works under orders of the Central Government.
- Setting up the institution of the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in each state. It will be independent of the government. They will not come under the purview of the any minister or bureaucrat.
- Cases will be completed in one year.
- The loss caused by the corrupt individual to the state will be recovered.
- The common man can approach the Lokpal if some of his work related to the Government is not done. Lokpal will be responsible for getting this done and the guilty will be punished.
- Corrupt Lokpal officers will be punished in two months.
- CVC, Departmental Vigilance and the Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI will be merged with the Lokpal.
- Lokpal can initiate independent proceedings.
- Lokpal will be responsible for providing protection to the people who are victimized for raising a voice against corruption.
- The lack of resources in the vigilance departments is a challenge. Staff strength of 200 to have vigilance control over an entire nation is not possible. The Lokpal Bill will not address that challenge in any way.
- The solution is simple. It is necessary to staff these organizations adequately. And staffing is to be done with the right kind of people, the professionals who are trained to do this duty appropriately.
- This way you will bring in more people to do the required investigations. And this will implicitly resolve the problem related to long time required for execution of the cases. With more honest people at work, the investigations can be prompt and so can be the subsequent judgement.
- As an offshoot, the Government will be generating employment.
- The drawback highlighted is that the CVC and DV Wings do not have teeth. Let's give them teeth. Let's give them the power to investigate independently.
- Let's have a tree structure of the organization where the DV wing reports to the CVC Wing. This way the CVC can direct and have control over the DV wings. This resolves one problem mentioned earlier.
- The CVC wing in turn will report into the Prime Minister. This proposal will draw criticism from people who think that such a vigilance team should be independent of the politicians.
Yes, that argument holds good. But you always need a leader. You cannot have a headless organization. A leader who has the responsibility and authority. And in my opinion, the Prime Minister of India is the supreme leader in India.
- The Prime Minister can appoint an individual or a team responsible for managing this entire show. And they will be responsible for its execution – end to end. The ultimate responsibility will be the Prime Minister. If the PM fails, he will be responsible to the Parliament and effectively to the country.
- The members of the DV wing will not be a part of the same department. They will be independent functionaries working under directly under the CVC.
- These vigilance commissions are to be given an authority to lodge criminal cases if the need be.
- Let us not set any boundaries on the people who can be investigated by these authorities. Everyone who is the citizen of India, including the Prime Minister and the Judges, is supposed to function under the same sphere of law and hence should be investigated by the same set of authorities.
- We will of course need to address the chance of corruption by the very people responsible for managing corruption. This will require setting up an independent control mechanism which can serve as a deterrent against corruption.
Haven't we heard of ACB sleuths catching someone from the ACB itself taking bribes? We will need a similar structure.
- With due respects to everyone, we need to remember that India is a country of 120 crore people spread across a land mass of 3.2 million square kilometers. We cannot have an election to select a Lokpal and a Lokayukta. It is simply too expensive.
- And if indeed we need to select such people, what will form as a basis of it? Will there be some campaigning, with its associated expenditure of money? How will people know who is good and who is bad? It's simply not possible.
- What we can do instead? Well, the team can be selected by the elected representatives of the people. And when I say the elected representatives, I mean the all the members of the Parliament – cutting across party lines. This way, each and every elected representative will be responsible for choosing the vigilance team member.
- A thorough background check of the candidates must be done to ensure that they themselves are not black sheep.
- Setup goals. The Lokpal Bill says that the Lokpal should resolve cases within one year. Well, that is ambitious in some cases while extremely liberal in some cases.
But yes, it's a good time line. Let's set the same timeline for the Vigilance Commissions. What's the harm?
- Importantly, they should be empowered to execute such tasks.
|Example of Corruption|
On a long term, India should look at creating better opportunities of work and for better equitable distribution of income. This could possibly nip the corruption in the bud.
- The problems highlighted by the proponents of the Lokpal Bill are correct and need to be resolved.
- The Lokpal Bill structure would not resolve those problems.
- The existing anti corruption organizations need to be enhanced, and empowered. Frameworks need to be created to address this enable them to work independently to yield the required results.
- The root cause of corruption needs to be addressed.
What do you think? What is your opinion?