Scope and reach of Lokpal Bills

By Sumitra Padmanabhan

Here’s is a detailed description on the merits and demerits of the 3 versions of the Lokpal Bill

Government draft bill
Includes PM only after s/he demits office. Restricts reach only to Group A officers and above, including MPs and ministers. Office-bearers of NGOs receiving public or foreign funds included. No Lokayukta.

Jan Lokpal Bill
Includes PM while in office, ministers, elected representatives and all public servants apart from the judiciary. Sets up independent Lok Ayuktas. (Team Anna recently agreed to a separate judicial accountability commission [JAC] provided it was set up simultaneously with the Lokpal.)

NCPRI’s proposed bill
Includes PM in office (but only where he is directly responsible and not in vicarious deeds, where national security is involved, and after a decision by a full bench of the Supreme Court), ministers, elected representatives and Group A officers.

For judiciary, mid-level bureaucracy and lower-level bureaucracy, it recommends other measures like strengthening a bunch of bills already with Parliament and making independent bodies like the JAC for the judiciary and Central Vigilance Commission for mid-level bureaucracy.

In the pic:  Anna Hazare takes rest on the stage during his hunger strike in New Delhi on Sunday, August 21, 2011.

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