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Sunday December 4th 2016
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Anna’s bill or Govt.’s bill?

Anna HazareThe media is full of news about Anna Hazare’s campaign. The point of difference between him and the government is simple – he wants to introduce a Jan Lokpal Bill, while the government wants a Lokpal Bill (and in fact, has already introduced it in Parliament).

If you are wondering what is the difference between the two, have a look at the two drafts below:

Item Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill Government’s Lokpal Bill.
Composition Chairperson + 10 members (at least 4 members with legal background). Chairperson + up to 8 members (at least 4 judicial members)
Manner of
appointment
The selection committee shall consist of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, 2 judges of the Supreme Court, 2 chief justices of a high court, the Chief Election Commission, the CAG, and all previous chairpersons of the Lokpal. The selection committee shall consist of the Prime Minister, Speaker, Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the PM, Leader of the Opposition in both Houses, judge of Supreme Court, Chief Justice of a High Court, an eminent jurist, a person of eminence in public life.
Removal The members of the Lokpal shall be removed by the President on the recommendation of the Supreme Court made within 3 months. The grounds on which a Lokpal can be removed are: misbehaviour, infirmity of body or mind, insolvent, taken paid employment outside the office. The President may remove the Lokpal, on the opinion of the Chief Justice, if the member is found to be biased or corrupt. He can also remove the Lok Pal on grounds of insolvency, engaging in paid employment and infirmity of the mind or body.
Jurisdiction It covers all public servants as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (includes government employees, judges, MPs, Ministers, and Prime Minister).An act of corruption also includes any offence committed by an MP in the House; willfully giving or taking benefit from a person and victimizing a whistleblower or witness. All corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. It covers the PM after he has demitted the office, MPs, Ministers, ‘Group A’ officers. Excludes, judiciary and any action of an MP in the Parliament or Committee.
Investigation When investigating cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the CBI shall be under the Lokpal. An investigation can be initiated against the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts only with permission of a 7-member bench of the Lokpal. Investigation has to be completed between 6 to 18 months. Investigation in complaints made by whistleblowers, who are in danger of victimization, shall be completed within 3 months. On receiving a complaint against a public servant, the Lokpal shall either itself or direct its own investigation wing to conduct a preliminary investigation within 30 days. The inquiry shall be completed within six months. It may be extended for six more months after the Lokpal gives reasons in writing. No sanction shall be required by the Lokpal to inquire any complaint against a public servant.
Penalty For any act of corruption, the penalty shall be between six months to life imprisonment. If the beneficiary for an offence is a business entity, a fine of upto five times the loss caused to the public shall be recovered. Also, if the director of a company is convicted, the company shall be blacklisted from any government contract. The public servant shall be removed from office if convicted. In case a person is found guilty of making a false complaint, he shall be fined upto Rs 1 lakh. For any act of corruption the penalties as provided under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) would apply. The PCA provides for fine and imprisonment for a term of six months to seven years for acts of corruption. Any person making false and frivolous or vexatious complaints shall be penalized with two to five years of jail and fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
Other powers The Lokpal shall have the power to receive complaints from whistleblowers, attach property, recommend cancellation/modification of a lease or licence or blacklist a company. If recommendation of Lokpal is not accepted it can approach the High Court. A bench of the Lokpal can approve interception and monitoring of messages transmitted through telephone or internet. The Lokpal can issue search warrants. The Lokpal shall have the power to search and seize documents, provisionally attach property for 90 days, file for confirming the attachment within 30 days, and recommend suspension of the public servant connected with allegation of corruption.
Data sourced from PRS Legislative Reasearch.

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