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‘Lokpal will be an independent entity'
‘Appointment through a selection panel'
NEW DELHI: With veteran campaigner against corruption Anna Hazare's fast unto death at Jantar Mantar here entering its second day on Wednesday , the focus has shifted to the Jan Lokpal Bill that was drafted last year as a collaborative effort by civic society to ensure a corruption-free India.
The Bill was first drafted by retired Supreme Court Judge and the present Lokayukta for Karnataka Santosh Hegde, senior advocate Prashant Bhusan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and then refined after a series of public consultations. Feedback from citizens received at the www.indiaagainstcorruption.org website was also included in the Bill.
Besides Mr. Hazare, the Bill was vetted by former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh, and social activist and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi.
The Bill was sent to the Prime Minister and all Chief Ministers on December 1, 2010.
The salient features of the Bill are – setting up of an institution called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in each State. Like the Supreme Court and Election Commission, the Lokpal will be completely independent with no Minister or bureaucrat being able to influence investigations.
Other features of the Bill include completion of investigation in cases within one year and the trial within the next one year so as to imprison the guilty within two years. The financial loss caused to the government will be recovered from corrupt persons at the time of imprisonment.
The Bill envisages imposing financial penalty on guilty officers and transferring this amount as compensation to the complainant. Regarding the appointment of Lokpal members, the Bill proposes a transparent and participatory process through a selection panel comprising judges, citizens and constitutional authorities and not by politicians.
Complaints can also be made against Lokpal officers, with investigation and the officer's dismissal to be completed within two months. The Bill also proposes the merger of existing anti-corruption agencies like the Central Vigilance Commission, Vigilance Departments and Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI with the Lokpal.
The “India Against Corruption” movement believes that all these measures will render the Lokpal with complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
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