Indian Polity, Public Admin 2, Uncategorized

What is Janlokpal Bill?

Delhi Janlokpal Bill has prescribed a cooling period for public servants for joining any private entity or doing any consultancy work. “No public servant, for a period of two years immediately after he ceases to be such public servant, shall be eligible to take up any employment, assignment, consultancy, etc with or for any person, private company or firm or public private partnership or private organisation with which he had substantially dealt with in his official capacity during the last period of five years immediately before he ceased to be the public servant,” section 24 of the Bill states.

Under the Janlokpal Bill the ombudsman will have powers to confiscate and attach properties of officials involved in corrupt acts. Janlokpal can even sentence someone to life imprisonment.

Delhi Janlokpal Bill: Under Ombudsman may attach, confiscate assets gained by a public servant through the acts of corruption the AAP government proposes that that a person who files false complaint will be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.

According to Janlokpal Bill, the janlokpal can constitute a prosecution wing and appoint a Director of Prosecution and such other officers and employees to assist the Director of Prosecution for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint made under this Act.

After the approval of the Janlokpal, the Director of prosecution shall file a case before the special court and take all necessary steps in respect of the prosecution of the public servants in relation to any offence punishable under this act.

Janlokpal Bill also proposes higher punishment for a public servant holding higher rank thereby becoming an exemplary ensuring accountability and responsibility.

“In case of wilful or malicious false complaints there is provisions of imprisonment or fine or both, Janlokpal will file a case in court for false complaint and court has to uphold it as false case for punishment. False complaints will also be decided by the judiciary,” the Delhi Janlokpal Bill stated.

Under Section 6: The removal of the Chairperson or members of the Jan Lokpal stated that one or more members/Chairperson could be removed “by a majority of the total membership of the legislative assembly” or “by a majority not less than two-thirds of the members thereof present and voting…”

Criticism: 

Bill’s introduction says “Whereas the government is steadfastly committed to the establishment of the National Capital Territory of Delhi as a “Corruption Free Zone…,” and “the Jan Lokpal may…utilise the services of any officer or organisation or investigation agency of the central government…,” is an intrusion in the domain of the central government. Many allege that this is deliberately done to get the Bill rejected by the central government.

Section 3, says that the selection of the Chairperson and two members of the Jan Lokpal, is decided by three politicians and the Chief Justice of the High Court. So, it is biased in favour of the ruling party. (but here 3 politicians will be CM, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition or an alternative selected by the Members of the Opposition, In all, two politicians from the AAP, and two non-AAP: the CJ of the High Court and the leader of the Opposition. Thus, it was evenly balanced. So this allegation is not correct.)

The powers of the Jan Lokpal were questioned. Under Section 10, it was stated “The Jan Lokpal may appoint or, with the consent of the government, designate officers or agencies as Investigation Officers, authorised to investigate offences under this Act…” This was taken by critics to mean that the Jan Lokpal would depend on the government, and thus not be independent.

Section 9 deals with malicious false complaints made, which can on conviction, “be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.” Some felt that these punishments were too strong. But the maximum punishment is not mandatory, and malicious complaints can be very damaging to a citizen’s reputation.

 

After all the angry debate, the 2015 Bill is a significant step forward.

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