The Lokpal- NCPRI approach: the right to differ

In the midst of the overwhelming focus on Anna Hazare and the campaign around a bill that lacks consistency or clarity, both legal or ethical, below is a letter from Aruna Roy drawing our attention to an alternative approach to the Lokpal. It is an existing process for us to partake in, agree, disagree and/or rally behind.

Click here for more information on this alternative.

A letter from Aruna Roy

We write to you on a matter of mutual and common concern, the
Lokpal bill, now in Parliament. The context of this letter is
explained below.When the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal was working on the Jan
Lokpal ,  the NCPRI had written to the Chair, Shri Pranab Mukherjee,
and the co-chair Shri Shanti Bhushan, enquiring about the TORs and the
process of and participation, in public consultation. Both assured us
that there would be formal public consultation. It did not happen.

When the government bill went to cabinet with the intention of placing
it in the monsoon session of parliament, the NCPRI decided to make its
position known. The NCPRI is continuing with its deliberations and
consultations and has  prepared an approach paper and a set of
principles for circulation. This is a work in progress.

The belief in consultations and discussion is the reason why we write to you.

The NCPRI’s (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information)
involvement with legislation to deal with corruption and arbitrary use
of power, began with the demand for an RTI law in 1996. The Lokpal was
flagged as a law that needed to be taken up along with the Whistle
Blowers Bill to address the killing of RTI activists and establish
accountability. A committee was set up in the September 2010 for that
purpose. The issue of the Lokpal was however taken up by some members
of the NCPRI Working Committee, who formed the IAC and the NCPRI
discussions remained suspended.

The Lokpal discussion has had an interesting trajectory. It began as
the stated logical end of a large middle class mobilization on
corruption. The stated end of that campaign was the demand for the
setting up of a Joint Drafting Committee for a Lokpal bill. In common
usage and understanding of corruption, the term casually refers to a
range of corrupt practices. The political/governance spectrum is
indeed more culpable than others. For it is mandated to maintain
integrity in public life, to keep the country on keel with
constitutional and other guarantees. This includes preventing the
arbitrary use of power and corrupt practices. The Lokpal was too
simplistically ordained by the campaign as a solution to all varieties
of corrupt practices in our lives.

However the assurance that all solutions to the entire gamut of
corrupt practices could be worked out through a strong Lokpal has left
us with a great sense of disquiet. Not only because it does not
address the arbitrary use of power. But because it is an unrealistic
promise to rising expectations that it is an  alleviation of all ills
through one bill. It is also a question of the contents of the Jan
lokpal draft itself.

There have been public meetings but few consultations on the content
of the Act in detail . While gestures and symbolic assent – like sms
and referendums – may approve the intent, drafting of an Act needs
more informed debate.  The Lokpal  debate has had its share  of
general platitudes, we need now to go beyond that. We also have to
place the role of dissent squarely in the fulcrum of the debate. The
discussions after all, flow from the acceptance that a strong Lokpal
bill is needed. Also that the earlier and even the current government
draft is faulty, even on principles.

The NCPRI however did make efforts  before the 5th  of April to arrive
at a consensus with the IAC in a meeting held on 3rd April in the
NMML. The NAC took up the matter independent of the NCPRI on the 4th
April. The NCPRI  had expressed reservations about the over arching
and overwhelming structure of  a  law, which  included  grievances and
corruption within its ambit. It was argued that though both are
equally important, they require different mechanisms for
implementation.

Subsequently events took over, and in the polarised discourse, it
became impossible to make suggestions and or suggest changes. Every
critique was attributed to wrong intent and viewed with suspicion and
mistrust by the civil society members of the Joint Committee. Critique
of the Bill has evoked sharp reactions, and statements have been made
that no amendments or change to the principles or the framework is
possible, and that disagreement with the draft was tantamount to
promoting corruption. We were baffled by such statements. The NCPRI
however continued with the consultations to evolve an approach, a set
of principles and measures to unpack the huge unwieldy and much too
powerful structure proposed by the IAC.

We are attaching a set of documents defining our approach to the
Lokpal, different both from the Jan Lokpal and the Government bills.
The NCPRI would like to share a set of principles and a framework for
deliberation. The summary of our basic arguments is detailed below.
This was placed in the public domain by the NCPRI and the Inclusive
Media 4 Change ( CSDS) on the 5th and 6th of June 2011.

The consensus that emerged was that in place of a single institution
there should be multiple institutions and that  a basket of collective
and concurrent Lokpal anti corruption and grievance redress measures
should be evolved.

Summary of the NCPRI approach towards a series of concurrent and
collective Anti-corruption and Grievance Redress measures:

Rationale: Vesting jurisdiction over the length and breadth of the
government machinery in one institution will concentrate too much
power in the institution, while the volume of work will make it
difficult to carry out its tasks.

1.     Unanimous endorsement of the need for accountability of all
public servants, including the contentious issue of inclusion of the
PM, with a few caveats. ( No one is above the law, enforcing the rule
of law).

2.     An independent system for judicial scrutiny and standards.

3.     An independent and strong institution to scrutinize corruption
of public servants and issues, which require different administrative
processes and organizational set-up.

4.     and a mechanism to redress grievances of the common citizen

5.     Whistle Blowers protection.

The five measures proposed by NCPRI are:

1. Rashtriya Bhrashtachar Nivaran Lokpal (National Anti-corruption
Lokpal): An institution to tackle corruption of all elected
representatives, including the Prime Minister (with some safeguards),
Ministers and Members of Parliament and senior bureaucrats (Group ‘A’
officers) and all other co-accused including those in the private and
social sector. The Lokpal will be financially and administratively
independent from the government and will have both investigative and
prosecution powers.

2.  Kendriya Satarkta Lokpal (Central Vigilance Commission): Amending
the Central Vigilance Commission Act to remove the single directive
and empower the CVC to investigate corruption and take appropriate
action against mid-level bureaucracy.

3.  Nyayapalika Lokpal (Judicial Standards and Accountability Lokpal):
To strengthen the existing Judicial Accountability and Standards Bill,
that is currently before the Parliament, to ensure that the judiciary
is also made effectively and appropriately accountable, without
compromising its independence from the executive or the integrity of
its functions.

4.      Shikayat Nivaran Lokpal (Public Grievances Lokpal): To set up
an effective time-bound system for grievance redress for common
citizens to make the government answerable in terms of its functions,
duties, commitments and obligations towards citizens. The grievance
redress structure would have decentralized institutional mechanisms
going right down to each ward/block level, and would ensure a
bottom-up, people centric approach so that complaints and grievances
can be dealt with speedily and in a decentralized, participatory and
transparent manner. It will integrate public vigilance processes like
vigilance committees and social audits, and provide for facilitation
for the filing of all grievances/complaints through the setting up of
block information and facilitation centres in every Block (rural) and
ward(urban) in the country.The grievance redress mechanism will be a
three-tier structure consisting of grievance redress officers at the
local level within the department, independent district level
grievance redressal authorities and central/State level grievance
redress commission. It will include and rationalize existing
structures.

5.  Lokrakshak Kanoon (Whistleblower Protection Lokpal): To strengthen
the existing Public interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons
Making the Disclosure Bill, that is currently before the Parliament,
to ensure appropriate protection of whistleblowers.

These institutions, where relevant, will also be established at the
State level. In addition there will be a common selection process to
staff these institutions. We feel that all these measures need to be
brought in simultaneously to effectively tackle corruption at all
levels and provide a mechanism to redress grievances of citizens.

We write to you, to present this alternative, to elicit your
responses, and to invite you to be part of the discourse. Please do
let us know whether you are interested in being part of the discourse
and in receiving periodic updates.

Please forward this on to friends and other interested people.

We look forward to your reply.

Warm regards,
Aruna

47 thoughts on “The Lokpal- NCPRI approach: the right to differ”

  1. The government needs to take the NCPCRI bill very seriously, at least now. So does the media. Mainstream media, that is.

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  2. Seems like a more palatable alternative. The devil is in the details though.

    BTW, if I remember correctly, the IAC members of the drafting committee have repeatedly mentioned that they had specifically asked the government to include more people in the drafting committee, specifically the opposition parties and others. The government had refused. Before the drafting meetings concluded, the IAC members had specifically drawn a list of over a hundred different civil society members who should be consulted before finalizing the draft. The government had refused.

    In hindsight, it is evident that the government did this to remove the legitimacy of the drafting committee. The blame should therefore be on the right parties.

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  3. “We are attaching a set of documents defining our approach to the Lokpal, different both from the Jan Lokpal and the Government bills.”

    Would it be possible to share these attachments?

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  4. Can we work towards a process where people can be asked to vote on different versions of a bill? would that create problems?

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  5. “The Lokpal will be financially and administratively
    independent from the government and will have both investigative and
    prosecution powers”
    Can anyone elaborate on this vision of independent Lokpal?
    From where does come the the financial and administrative might of this independent Lokpal, if he/she is placed above the administrative and financial control of the elected government?
    What is the magic here?
    .

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  6. NCPRI’s five pronged approach takes care of the two eventualities that the Jan lokpal faces – grinding to a halt or becoming draconian.
    Seems like a more realistic approach. less dramatic, but more workable.
    wonder if this blockbuster running on our TV’s will create space for some serious discussion.

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    1. “two eventualities that the Jan lokpal faces – grinding to a halt or becoming draconian.”

      I think that is being highly presumptuous. Where do you draw your conclusions from.

      Nyayapalika Lokpal (Judicial Standards and Accountability Lokpal) and Whistleblower Protection Lokpal are good ideas. But that doesn’t have to push us to draw highly debatable conclusion. It is like saying “I have seen the future”.

      Well thought check and balances are trademarks of a good bill. In that department, i do think Jan Lokpal bill is balanced. But that is what i think. Better not drawing conclusions, and keeping a more open ended view.

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      1. The NCPRI approach appears to be more methodical, detailed, and systematic than Kejriwal + Bedi (Anna Hazare seems to be unaware of the details) or that of the government’s. Both the parties could find some middle ground with Aruna Roy’s intelligence and calm thinking.

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  7. One of the many worrisome elements of this ‘movement’ is the backing from the 24X7 media which has been thoughtless and inane to say the least…Nobody seems to know what they want or how it can be achieved.. And those who have worked on it haven’t been part of the so-called ‘consultations’… Was wondering if there is a real danger of the bill in its present form (either government or ‘Team Anna’) being passed..

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  8. Unless complete alternate draft(s) is proposed by NCPRI, it is not possible to judge the relative merits. 5 structures in place of one multilayered structure is not a convincing enough argument without spelling out the draft bill.
    Merely saying it is a work in progress after 4 decades is also very unconvincing.

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  9. Anna Hazare is a Gandhian not GANDHI

    Successful campaign by Anna Hazare definitely open our eyes against corruption and corruption. Constitutionally India has too many pillars and layers in Government. Also there are many checks and balances.

    Let us not become emotional but rational and examine the function of this existing system. Do we have to think that the system collapsed and another institution as NEW LOKPAL can save this nation from the clutches of greed and corruption?.

    If we are convinced about the Anna Hazare views, let us ask some questions to ourselves.

    1. Why not Anna Hazare present the alternate proposal with the help of his supporting opposition?

    2. Why not Hazare let the Government present their bill to start with and during the discussion propose the amendments through the opposition.

    3. Is it feasible or advisable to let some pressure groups out side Parliament buoyed by noisy public support and change the constitution and functions of the government.Where we will be heading to.

    4. Will it be possible for Hazare to control the mob from any untoward behavior and the resultant aftermath as happened elsewhere in the world.

    Let wisdom prevail

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    1. You call it Mob!!!!
      And then say “Let wisdom prevail”.

      I find it highly insulting, whatever your intentions are.

      This is a post to comment about what how to draft a good bill, not speculate and belittle other peoples motives/intention and effort.

      There are lot of other online spaces out there for such trivial never ending conversations, accusations and counter accusation.

      P.S: Hope the moderator would be take notice.

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  10. Please read my editorials: ‘Ati Sarvatra varjayat’ and ‘India 64’ at http://lawanimatedworld.blogspot.com/. On other comment-threads I already commented as follows:
    “Lok Pal and Lokayuktas are modeled or sought to be modeled on the institutions or posts of Ombudsmen in Western countries, especially the Swedish Ombudsman is the role model in this regard. However, strangely, in our undeveloped democracy, it seems the proposed Lok Pal even according to the government proposed version seems to be more powerful than any of the Ombudsmen in European countries or UK. The Parliamentary Ombudsman in UK had informed me that they mainly rely on persuasive consultations to curb corruption and delinquencies and the corruption among ministers and parliament members is not their job. In Sweden also Parliament members and ministers are outside the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman who mainly concentrates on inquiring about and ensuring high standards among the civil servants. So it strikes to me that the present ebullience of Anna Hazare and others on this score is unwarranted, certainly the Prime Minister should be kept outside the purview of Lok Pal as also the superior judiciary, which as SSR suggests should be left to (in future if the demand is met) by a National Judicial Commission. It is better to have a Lok Pal with limited jurisdiction to curb corruption and delinquencies among high levels of civil servants but very effective powers than make him like a super cop which ultimately would deliver nothing except, as SSR warned, itself emerging as an extra-constitutional authority.”

    On CPI and other left parties joining/supporting the Anna’s campaign I commented:
    “This is like being carried away by the winds but not rational or intelligent participation. Especially the parliamentary left or other parties who have considerable presence in Parliament can always discuss the draft in the standing committee and propose whatever changes they want and even afterwards can move amendments. What is the necessity to bypass the Parliament when once the bill is there in parliament for good or bad? That way Lok Pal cannot be the panacea either. Nor Lok Pal can be made a super cop like extra-constitutional authority through a parliamentary statue. If any act is passed per Anna’s wishes, bringing judiciary also under Lok Pal, it will be struck down as unconstitutional by any High Court or Supreme Court because the Parliament even by constitutional amendment cannot alter the basic structure of the constitution. Of course, if one wants to go beyond the present constitution and more radical transformation, that is a different thing. But then the totalitarian danger is always staring at us. One has to note that even in developed western democracies Ombudsmen are there only to strengthen the existing parliamentary processes and mainly curb corruption and delinquencies among the civil servants and they have no jurisdiction over even parliament members even. I have already made myself clear in many comments-threads that a Lok Pal with limited jurisdiction mainly to curb corruption and delinquencies in higher levels of civil servants is the essential need and such Lok Pal should have effective powers including constitution of SITs and taking cognizance as court in select specified cases and for specified categories and also adjudicatory powers in like instances. Any attempt to unduly widen its powers and jurisdiction will only worsen the melee and not improve the situation.”

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    1. “In Sweden also Parliament members and ministers are outside the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman”,

      When you are drawing a comparison between ombudsman of Swedan and India, did you draw any investigative comparison on the level of corruption done by the members of the parliament in both the countries? I have not done that but I can make an open guess that Swedish parliament members must have behaved well to get that privilege.

      Do they have scams of the 1,60,000Cr magnitude done by their ministers, each coming out every six months?

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      1. And you want the same [rogue] parliamentarians to appoint the so-called honest and impeccable LOK PAL!? Corruption was rampant, atrocities galore in every country in the phase of its primary capitalist development not to mention about its medieval or feudal ages. Already even the govt version is much ahead of these western ombudsmen in that it allows LOK PAL to have jurisdiction over all but PM. Since PM is the de facto head of state in our country, I am strongly against his being brought within the jurisdiction of LOK PAL. Now it seems even Anna team is backtracking on its demand to include judiciary. Whatever mechanism you have it should be handy and effective. So I say have limited jurisdiction, effective powers including specified adjudicatory powers, and try to work it. Later you can think of enlarging the jurisdiction or further limiting (as was done in Sweden) as the need arises. All this hype is nothing but Zid (obstinacy) to score points and pose as the real leaders of the people as if these are going to bring about a revolution.

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    2. The moral rectitude of Sweden (the famed Nordic rectitude) and to a lesser extent of British society including the civil servants and politicians is well known and documented in history. On the contrary, in our country we have seen a sharp decline in public morality especially in the last few decades. If we need a a more powerful ombudsman, so be it. Why not? The parliament can and will promptly amend the act at the first opportunity if there is a misuse.

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  11. I do feel this needs wider circulation. I am not sure it is possible to ensure it receives that circulation, in the current climate. Perhaps the NAC needs to meet?

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    1. Bring NAC into this and it will impose new rules stating that all the “groups” should be discounted from corruption charges.

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  12. Dear Ms Roy

    Although the initiatives of NCPRI to come with alternate suggestions are duly appreciated. But based on the synopsis of the NCPRI’s suggestions, it seems as though you are suggesting to create a bureacratic structure running parallel to the current bureacractic structure. That is another structure similar to the current one to regulate and check corruption in the current one. Now the question that comes to my mind is what is the check against this alternate structure being corrupt? I mean what is the guarentee that the institutions proposed to be set up against corruption, will not itself become corrupt?

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  13. Governments excel at turning consultations, enquiries, assessments and the like into the most meaningless and non-productive exercises. So then, does not this issue also boil down to a question of who will bell the cat, even though some or many of us may have misgivings about the methods employed?

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  14. The overall goals of all Lokpals concur. They differ of course in how they achieve these goals. The key word is ENSURE that they meet these goals. The govt’s version does not. (the “iff” clause, for the mathematicians).

    The crux of any Lokpal bill introduced is that it must have powers to (a) prosecute, demote, remove, disbar corrupt officials from public office suo moto (b) Ensure speedy ( 1lakh online, publish tenders to government contracts, publish minutes of meetings leading to awarding the tender, etc.

    These need or need not be met by creation of alternate institutions, however, without ensuring that these goals are met, they are useless. Its more likely that the accused will die of old age before being made to pay.


    karthik

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  15. The only part of the NCPRI’s suggestion that I agree with is: “inclusion of the PM, with a few caveats.”

    I do believe that the PM (during his/her tenure) should not be included as a whole, because PM is purview to information related to national security. So yes, the PM should be included but with few caveats otherwise vested interests may start using the law to attack the PM and hence destabilise the government when they see fit. The law should not become a tool in someone’s hand to manipulate the government.

    On all the other suggestions of the NCPRI, I think it is just making a simple process, suggested by Jan Lokpal Bill, more complicated. The suggestion to splinter a single corruption ombudsman office into various different investigative and grievance offices is going to create a bureaucratic nightmare to coordinate and deal with (classic example is country’s security agencies – the more agencies you have the more problematic it becomes to coordinate between them. In fact the lessons learned from the country’s security fiasco is that there has to be a single agency that coordinates the working of all the sub-agencies). In that case the suggestion by Jan Lokpal Bill of a single Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukt at the state-level makes sense. That way the bureaucratic mess will be reduced and there will be better coordination between agencies working on corruption matters.

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    1. Continuing my above comment:

      Also, from the Jan Lokpal Bill, I do not agree on leaving the non-funded NGOs out of the ambit of the Lokpal/Lokayukt. All NGOs whether government funded or non-funded should be covered under Lokpal. The Jan Lokpal Bill proponents have argued that the Lokpal will be used as an arm-twisting tool by the government towards the non-funded NGOs. If that is the argument, then the Jan Lokpal Bill drafters do not believe in the integrity of the ombudsman that they are proposing! Hence I believe that all NGOs should be covered by the Jan Lokpal Bill as suggested by the government’s version.

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  16. It is very heartening to know that inspite of the hue and cry surrounding lokpal and jan lokpal, some people showed the desire to be practical and reasonable and above all in line with the existing laws that demarcates our very democracy. I pledge my support to NCPRIs lokpal bill since it has the very basic premise of our constitution intact- separation of powers.I feel its time ARUNA ROY and others with the above said bill come to the forefront and educate the masses who are still not in picture but where the soul of our country rest and also the most affected by CORRUPTION- the rural people and middle class (leaving those at the top of financial considerations since most of them are unmindful of these bills, i believe). As an eminent social activist am sure your voice will surely reach the deaf ears(due to lack of and lot of noise) of our LAW MAKERS- ASSERTED BY CONSTITUTION AND SELF WILL. For that you people have to make our MPs table your bill in parliament. As rule of law is still in place in this country i believe this bill will reach its righteous position.

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  17. A much needed voice of sanity. I endorse the practical and common-sense approach of the NCPRI version. Certainly more publicity of this draft is needed.

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  18. I agree with Aruna Roy. It is time that Team Anna, the audio visual media and citizens take a step back to reflect and discuss just what we need. Is it the Lokpal Bill as Team Anna is presenting? I prefer the NCPRI version. The whole naiton cannot make public policy. They can give inputs and say what they ‘don’t’ want. The job of public policy is the responsibility of elected officials, with citizen input. Let us not confuse our frustrations with the failed systems in India as a signal for another way to make policy. What I want is a working government, preferably a clean government and whatever makes this happen is good for me.

    I am opposed to what is going on by Team Anna and his followers.

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  19. I am not able to see any clear advantages/differences of this bill over Jan Lokpal Bill. If I understand correctly, this bill envisions 5 different bodies (probably through 5 different bills). However, the collective scope (in terms of powers and vision) of all 5 bodies together would be very similar to what is provided in Jan Lokpal Bill.

    If that is not the case, can someone point out what are the provision of Jan Lokpal bill, that are not included in any of the 5 bodies. And what additional power/responsibility are present in 5 bodies which Jan Lokpal Bill does not consider.

    And if indeed that is the case, why do you imagine, splitting an organisation into 5 different bodies would work better? Probably I am missing something very obvious here! And why do you think the government would be more open to this bill, given the collective power of all the bodies would be same as Jan Lokpal Bill.

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    1. “Rationale: Vesting jurisdiction over the length and breadth of the
      government machinery in one institution will concentrate too much
      power in the institution, while the volume of work will make it
      difficult to carry out its tasks.”

      [from FAQ document]:
      Q. Why is the NCPRI proposal such a complex articulation?
      It is true that the formulation- or suggested “collective and concurrent anti-corruption and grievance redress measures” of the NCPRI is more complex than a single institution like the Jan Lokpal that covers all corruption, maladministration, and misgovernance. However, corruption and the arbitrary use of power itself is complex, and misgovernance and grievance redress even more so.

      Q. Why are you stratifying institutions to look at different levels of corruption? Is this done in any existing institution?
      Currently there are nearly 42 lakh people under regular employment of the Central Government. It would be physically and logistically impossible for one organization like the National Anti-Corruption Commission (RashtriyaBhrashtacharNivaranLokpal) to deal with complaints regarding all these employees. It would also seem to be a misuse of the unique ability and strengths of the Lokpal to divert them to thousands of complaints of routine and petty corruption. Therefore, clearly there is a need to limit the scope of the Lokpal, otherwise it would soon degenerate either into an organization with backlogs running into millions (like our court system), or become so large and unwieldy that not only would it become impossible to effectively manage and ensure its integrity (like the Income Tax Department), but it would also consume huge public resources without being cost effective.

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  20. The crux of my argument is that it is better to have a LOK PAL with limited jurisdiction and effective powers, including specified adjudicatory powers, than a LOK PAL having very wide jurisdiction, but no adjudicatory powers and interfering with the functions of the three wings of the State at will. What people want is more of a clean and well running government, which is largely the work of bureaucrats including various strata of civil servants. Indeed in our country it is these sections which even influence the political executive and so if LOK PAL can succeed in curbing corruption and delinquencies in higher strata of civil servants I think most of the problems will be solved. Since the government already agreed to include Ministers and MPs (not in the course of parliamentary proceedings) also [already here we differ radically from the Western Ombudsmen], I think with some material amendments like removing the stress on punishing the complainant (that his complaint is false, etc.) and tightening the screws on delinquents (by giving powers of suspension pending investigation, etc., and in appropriate cases even ordering judicial remand, etc.), the Bill can be passed – but I strongly feel that the Prime Minister, who is the de facto head of state in our country and the judiciary should be kept out of its purview. For judiciary, I strongly urge the amendment of the constitution to establish a National Judicial Commission for selection, appointment, controlling and punishing superior judiciary and removal of impeachment provisions to any but the Chief Justice of India.

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  21. I feel there should one lokpal and one lokayukt at state level.for the convenience of the public at large.As suggested by aruna ji sublokpals may be made to increase the effeciency under them.Otherwise complaint will be confused where to make the complaint like in police depts.usually they return the complaint saying not in their territory.

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  22. I found some interesting news, how far credible don’t know, in this article:http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2011/08/4069#.TlE9eDIWR0h.facebook
    ESPECIALLY THE FOLLOWING LINES SEEM AMAZING:

    “It was Ramdev who started this campaign against corruption,” said a close associate of Ramdev. He narrated an uncanny story: “During a rally against the Commonwealth Games scam in Delhi, Anna walked up to Ramdev, touched his feet, and said, ‘I am a mere footsoldier, but you are the leader.’” At that time, Ramdev, backed by RSS, was calling the shots, his yoga shivirs doubling up as political platforms from where he ritualistically targeted the UPA government. “Anna used to be a backbencher then. He was in the second line of leadership,” said Rawat. Politically ambitious, Ramdev had floated the idea of his own party.”

    COULD THIS BE TRUE THAT ANNA (more than 70 years old) TOUCHED THE FEET OF BABA RAMDEV (less than 45 years old) and praised him?

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  23. Ms. Aruna Roy was asked a question that the NCPRI’s suggestion has 3 members in the commitee that will select the Lokpal. The three people suggested are the Prime Minister, The Leader of the Opposition and a sitting judge. The moot question is – How desirable is it to have political dominance in a committee that selects the people who are supposed to address corruption by politicians?

    Her answer can be listened to in the programme News Hour on TIMES NOW channel, 23rd August 2011. http://www.timesnow.tv/Debate-No-real-promises-from-PM—2/videoshow/4382061.cms

    Ms. Roy’s reply is ‘…the CAG is appointed by government, the election commissioner is appointed by government… if the government knows that this committee (selection committee mentioned in Jan Lokpal, which has many members and is not dominated by political office bearers) is going to select Lokpal, it will ‘load’ (?) those appointments…”

    I don’t understand.. Is it being said that a committee that is not dominated by politicians will make appointments more favorable to politicians than a committee that is clearly dominated by political office bearers?.

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    1. The Selection Committee comprises of:

      Govt bill:
      1The Prime Minister*
      2Speaker of the House of the People*
      3,4Leader of Opposition of both houses
      5Union Cabinet Minister to be appointed by the PM
      6Sitting judge of the SC, nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI)
      7Sitting Chief Justice of a High Court, nominated by the CJI
      8eminent jurist nominated by the Central Government*
      9person of eminence in public life*
      5/9

      JLP draft:
      1The Prime Minister*
      2Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha
      3,4Two judges of the Supreme Court
      5,6Two permanent Chief Justices
      of the High Court
      7Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)*
      8The Comptroller and Auditor general (C&AG)*
      9…. All previous Chairpersons of the Lokpal
      Setting up of the Search Committee mandatory
      3/indefinite

      NPCRI
      The Prime Minister
      The Leader of Opposition in the House of the People
      One sitting Judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice
      of India
      1/3

      The fractions being Govt participation ratio. Govt here means PM, ministers, speaker, Govt nominee, Govt appointees(incl CAG and CEC).

      JLP views things in terms of balancing Politician/Judiciary/Independent Constitutional Functionary. NPCRI in terms of balancing Govt/Opposition/Judiciary. Do you club govt and oppn together as political component or do you club govt with its nominated bureaucrats as the govt component is the question. Govt and Oppn are not likely to conspire together, might be their hope. Who is more dangerous to the integrity of Lokpal selection? Politician class as a whole or Govt and its appointees together?

      Judiciary self-selects, unlike CEC and CAG are govt appointed independent constitutional bodies.

      Either it was a slip of tongue, or she was not able to elaborate it more, or… she might just have inadvertantly given Govt a very evil idea.. Tamper CEC and CAG.

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  24. Compare the
    – NCPRI’s suggestion of 3-member selection committee (for Lokpal) comprising the PM, Leader of the Opposition and a judge – with
    – The selection process of Lokpal under the Jan Lokpal Bill – described as follows:

     The 10 members and the chairperson of Jan Lokpal will be selected by a Selection Committee that would comprise of the PM, Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, two youngest judges of Supreme Court (SC), two youngest Chief Justices of High Courts, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The Selection Committee will make the above appointment from a pool of shortlisted candidates that has been identified by a “Search Committee”.
     The “Search Committee” is a 10-member committee formed as follows: First, the Selection Committee selects five members from retired Chief Election Commissioners and retired CAGs. However those CECs and CAGs who have any substantive allegation of corruption against them or who have joined any political party after retirement or who are still in any government appointment shall not be eligible. These 5 members will then select another 5 members from the civil society to make the 10-member Search Committee.
     The Search Committee will invite recommendations from various eminent people (like journalists, academics, etc). These names will be put up on a website and public feedback invited. The search committee will then, by consensus, choose 3 times the number of vacancies. This list will be forwarded to the Selection Committee which will then make final selections through consensus.
     All meetings of the Search Committee and Selection Committee shall be video recorded and will be made public.

    Which is better? Which is more transparent, broad based and participatory?

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    1. You have missed the NCPRI suggestion for search committee. In govt draft, appointing a search committee to shortlist candidates is optional. It is mandatory in NCPRI draft, and the search committee is as transparent, participatory, broad based etc as the JLP. I don’t think there is much difference in case of search committee. Refer, Document 7-Page 14 in NCPRI notes. Comparison of search committees of three versions is in my comment above.

      I don’t know if the whole of NCPRI stuff will now get sidelined if the standing commitee stage is bypassed under some sort of deal. Hope not. Reproducing from NCPRI note below.
      Process of Selection
      Current Provisions in the Government’s Bill:
      Section 4(3) The Selection Committee may, if it considers necessary for the purposes of selecting the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal and for preparing a panel of persons to be considered for appointment as such, constitute a Search Committee consisting of such persons of standing and having special knowledge and expertise in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, policy making, finance including insurance and banking, law, and management, or in any other matter which, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, may be useful in making selection of the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal.
      Our Rationale for Disagreement:
      Our experience has been that high powered selection committees do not have the time to search out appropriate candidates. Therefore, the final selection is invariable decided by the dealing department which often puts before the selection committee an inadequate and/or inappropriate set of choices (as seem in the appointments of the CVC and various information commissioners and chief information commissioners). Therefore, we feel that there must be a search committee, as follows:

      Our Recommendations:
      Replace by: (3)The selection committee shall select out of a panel of not less than three and not more than five eligible candidates for each vacancy. This panel of eligible candidates shall be finalised by a search committee set up for the purpose; provided that the selection committee can require the search committee to submit up to two additional names for any vacancy, over and above those initially suggested, if they so deem necessary.

      a) The search committee shall comprise of five members appointed by the selection committee.

      b) Members of the search committee would be selected from among former:

      i. Chief Justices of India
      ii. Judges of the Supreme Court of India
      iii. Comptroller and Auditor Generals of India
      iv. Chief Election Commissioners of India
      v. Chief Information Commissioners of India
      vi. Former or outgoing Chief Lokpals (after the appointment of the first Chief Lokpal)
      vii. Former Lokpals (for appointment of Lokpals only)

      Provided that not more than two members should belong to any one of the categories listed above.

      Provided further that the following persons shall not be eligible for becoming members of the search committee:

      i. Any person who has joined any political party.
      ii. Any person who is still in the service of the government in any capacity
      iii. Any person who took up a government assignment after retirement, barring those assignments which are reserved for the post from which the person retired.

      c) In addition, the search committee will consist of another five members who would be selected by the five members, appointed under (a) above, from among the civil society and could include activists, academics, journalists, professionals, etc.
      d) The search committee shall devise its own procedures to develop a short list of names that could be considered for recommending to the selection committee.

      e) The search committee shall put up on a website the names and relevant details of all the candidates being considered. The public would be given sufficient time (not less than a month) to send in their views, if any, pertinent to the candidature of any one or more of these candidates, along with relevant material, if any.
      f) The search committee will compile all the comments so received and, wherever it deems necessary, will further investigate the comments about, or credentials of, any of the candidates under consideration.

      g) Based on all this material, the search committee will recommend not less than three and not more than five names to the selection committee for each vacancy.

      All the material received or considered by the search committee in order to reach its final recommendation, as well as the details and documents related to its own proceedings, would be available for public scrutiny once the relevant appointments have been made.

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  25. JANLOK PAL BILL IS THE NEED OF HOUR AND A EARNEST DESIRE OF 1 (ONE) BILLION PEOPLE OF FREE INDIA(THOUGH STILL NOT FREE IN A TRUE SENSE).I AM FED UP WITH THE CURRUPTION AS WELL AS WITH CURRUPT POLLITICIANS. JAN LOKPAL BILL IS A STRONG AND EFFECTIVE DRAFT

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  26. This Bill is necessary at this time. People who opposes are 1. Corrupted people in Power:Worried they will be questioned? 2. Honest People in Power (Nation’s Well wishers):Will this independant team will continue to keep the nation in peaceful condition? … So by looking at all the three sides (1. Lokpal 2. Corrupted people in power 3.Honest people in Power, Considering No.1 and 3 (No.2 is not considered) we should have a conditional bill and the bill will be implemented for a year time frame with 2 month review at the end of the year of implementation (This 2 month, this bill is non-operational) and the pros/cons/effectiveness will be reviewed in the best interest of public by a special session in the Parliament and the Bill can be corrected if required after the debate. In case this independent team is found ineffective then this Bill will be analysed whether this can be continued for further 2 years. Every 2 year we will have 2 months review…. In my opinion our honourable PM need not be included (for me he/she will continue to inspire people in their right leadership and honesty)… Last but not the least… Very importantly!!! Parliament will have all the rights to review/hold/correct/stop the bill in case their activity creates national chaos and the general public face further sufferings (Anytime…In case of National Emergency only)… I believe we can implement an effective bill by taking the above considerations…. Jai Hind!!!

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