Jan Lokpal Bill: Do We Need It?

Posted on April 10, 2011 in Specials

By Anirban Ghoshal:

India, a nation which accounted a population of 1.6 billion last census, which was declared last week, is still in its developing stages since the time the canopy of the British empire was shed back in 1947.

With the UPA-II government in a vortex of scams, it is quite natural for a civilian to ask for a law which oversees the functioning of the government in a very closely monitored and stringent manner.

When we have politicians moving money into thin air and Central Vigilance Commissioners who are involved in scams, the called order for the course comes into play wherein the people who are ruled start demanding answers from the very system which govern the people.

The Jan Lokpal Bill is the aftermath of today’s corrupted Indian political and bureaucratic scenario.

This bill was drafted and refined by justice Santosh Hedge, the Karnataka Lokayukta chief judge, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal on the basis of feedback from public websites and after a series of public consultations. Furthermore the bill’s support stretches out to personalities like Shanti Bhushan, J M Lyngdoh, Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare.

The bill was sent to the PM and all CMs on 1st December but there has been no response yet.

The bill looks forward to having institutions called Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in each state which will be completely independent of the governments or ministers or bureaucrats like the apex court and the election commission.

It also promises to look over at solving cases promptly and delve into any matters taken as a complaint against any lokpal/Lokayukta officer who will be dismissed within two months of complaint if found guilty after investigation.

This bill is independent of any political party support and supported by Saaku, an anti corruption group in southern India and India Against Corruption.

A former Karnataka assembly speaker stated in a rally which aimed at levying support for the bill that corruption is a big tree with its roots reaching deep into the soil and will require more hands to uproot it completely and send it into oblivion. Anna Hazare, a soldier and a survivor of the 1965 Indo-Pak war has given an ultimatum to the prime minister to enact the stringent bill or he shall fast unto death.

“We have been betrayed by those that are leading us,” said Hazare.

But what will happen to the CVC and the other anti-corruption branches of CBI, will India have a new law for every scam and disorder happening in the country and to add to it does it have the infrastructure and fund to start a new venture like the Lokpal as the Jan Lokpal bill suggests?

This calls for close scrutiny of all the other existing systems which are there to administer proper functioning of the government and not for a new system

The budget also gave a hint that the scams had a huge role to play in the deficit of money in the central treasury and which forced the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to play at the gallery by increasing FDI and by reducing industrial taxes.

A country where economics is a problem and inflation or recession is the order of every quarter or fiscal one should look at stabilizing the present infrastructure rather than opening a new one which will again open itself for the ever growing plague in India called ‘corruption’.

Thus let us really decide and have a thought over this bill; can we afford a bill like this, right now?


The writer is a student of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media.