August 24, 2011

Difference between Lokpal Bill and Jan Lokpal Bill

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Difference between Lokpal Bill and Jan Lokpal Bill

Here are some of the points raised by Hazare’s group:

1. The government Bill provides for nothing to recover ill-gotten wealth. A corrupt politician or bureaucrat can come out of jail and enjoy the money. The Jan Lokpal Bill seeks to recover from the accused the loss caused to the government due to corruption. It also increases punishment for the corrupt from a minimum of six months and a maximum of seven years to a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment.

2. The Jan Lokpal Bill seeks to empower the Lokpal to initiate probe suo motu and directly entertain public complaints. The government Bill requires complaints to be routed through the Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairperson.

3. The government Bill makes the Lokpal only an advisory body, vesting powers in the Prime Minister for action on its reports against cabinet ministers and in Parliament for action against the Prime Minister and MPs. The Jan Lokpal Bill gives the Lokpal powers to initiate prosecution after completing investigations. It also gives the Lokpal police powers to register FIRs, proceed with criminal investigations and launch prosecution.

4. It would be impossible for the Prime Minister to act against a cabinet minister on the basis of the Lokpal's report due to the compulsion of coalition politics. It gives the example of former telecom minister A Raja.

5. The Jan Lokpal Bill proposes merger of the Central Vigilance Commission with a part of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to create a single point of investigation in cases of corruption. The government Bill proposes to take away powers from the CBI to investigate politicians, thereby insulating them from investigations.

6. The government Bill gives power to the Lokpal to send to jail through summary trial anybody filing false and frivolous complaints, but it does not give the Lokpal power to send corrupt politicians to jail.