A big salute to anna hazare – Anna’s fight against corruption
Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare : (born 15 January 1940), popularly known as Anna Hazare, is an Indian social activist who is especially recognized for his contribution to the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, India and his efforts for establishing it as a model village, for which he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by Government of India, in 1992.
On April 5 2011, Hazare started a ‘fast unto death’ to exert pressure on the Government of India to enact a strong anti-corruption act as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill, a law that will establish a Lokpal (ombudsman) that will have the power to deal with corruption in public offices.
|PROBITY – Different Yardsticks|
|Government Version||Civil Society Version (Anna Hazare)|
|1||Jurisdiction: Only over PM, Ministers & MPs.||Jurisdiction: over Politicians, Bureaucrats and Judges. The CVC and the entire Vigilance machinery of the Centre will be merged into the Lokpal.|
|2||The Lokpal will not have suo motu power to initiate inquiry or even receive complaints of corruption directly from the Public. The complaints will be forwarded to it by the Presiding Officer of either House of Parliament||The Lokpal can not only initiate action on its own but it can also entertain complaints directly from the Public. It will not need reference or permission from any authority.|
|3||It is purely an advisory body and can therefore only give recommendations of the PM on complaints against Ministers and to the Presiding Officer of either House on complaints against the PM and MPs.||After completing its investigation against public servants the Lokpal can initiate prosecution, order disciplinary proceedings or both.|
|4||Since it has no police powers the Lokpal cannot register an FIR on any complaint. It can only conduct a preliminary enquiry||With the corruption branch of the CBI merged into it, the Lokpal will be able to register FIRs, conduct investigations under the Criminal Procedure Code and launch prosecution.|
|5||Any body found to have lodged a false complaint will be punished summarily by the Lokpal with imprisonment ranging from 1 to 3 years||The Lokpal can only impose financial penalties for complaints found to be false.|
|6||Lokpal will consist of 3 Members all of them will be retired Judges||The Lokpal will consist of 10 members and 1 Chairperson out of which only 4 are required to have legal background without necessarily having any judicial experience.|
|7||The committee to select Lokpal members will consist entirely of Political dignitaries and its composition is loaded in favour of the ruling party||The selection committee will be broad based as it included members from Judicial background, Chief Election Commissioner, Comptroller and Auditor General, Retired Army Generals and outgoing members of the Lokpal.|
|8||If a complaint against the PM relates to subjects like Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs, the Lokpal is barred from probing those allegations.||There is no such bar on the Lokpal powers|
|9||Though a time limit of six months to one year has been prescribed for the Lokpal to conduct its probe there is no limit for completion of trial, if any.||The Lokpal will have to complete its investigations within one year and the subsequent trial will have to be over in another year.|
|10||Nothing has been provided in law to recover the ill gotten wealth. After serving his sentence a corrupt person can come out of Jail and use the money.||Loss caused to Government due to corruption will be recovered from those proved guilty.|
What is Lokpal Bill?
The Bill was introduced for the first time in 1969. The draft was passed in Lok Sabha, but never made it through Rajya Sabha. Subsequently, the government’s version of the Bill was introduced nine times – in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008 in Parliament, but never got cleared.
What does the Bill aim to achieve?
The broad aim of the Bill is to free the country of corruption in politics and bureaucracy, by instituting the Lokpal at the centre, and a Lokayukta in each state.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta, according to the version of the Bill the protestors want, must be completely independent of any governments - on the lines of the Election Commission or the SC.
The common man can take complaints of corruption to the Lokpal or Lokayukta, who will investigate the same within specific time-frames.
What’s the dispute now?
The government’s versions of the Bill, say Hazare and his supporters, is weak. Several civil society members have drafted their version of the Lokpal Bill.
Anna Hazare wants this version of the Bill to be implemented – or at least wants representation for civil society when the new version of the Bill is drafted.
Why’s the government’s version of the Bill weak?
According to the government’s draft of the Bill, the Lokpal will not have the power to either initiate action suo motu in a case or even receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
The general public will have to make complaints to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. Only those complaints forwarded by Speaker of Lok Sabha/ Chairperson of Rajya Sabha to Lokpal would be investigated by Lokpal.
How does it help me?
If you’re having trouble getting a ration card, or a passport or a voter ID made, you can make your complaint straight to the Lokpal or the Lokayukta.
In Civil Society’s version of the Bill, the Lokpal will have to ensure your work gets done within a month of the complaint. As for allegations of corruption, the time-frames specified are one year for the Lokpal to complete its investigations and one more year for the trial.
This is aimed at making sure cases do not drag on for years, as they do now.
What stops the government from appointing corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members?
This will be practically impossible as its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities through a completely transparent process.
What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies?
The CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of the CBI will be merged into the Lokpal, giving the Lokpal complete powers and the machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
This is according to Civil Society’s version of the Bill of course. In the government’s version, the Lokpal has been proposed to be an advisory body.
Who qualifies to be part of the Lokpal?
According to the gevernment’s version, the Lokpal will consist of three members, all retired judges.
Civil Society’s version doesn’t see any reason the choice should be restricted to judiciary. Also, according to the government’s version, the Lokpal will not have powers to investigate any case against PM, or those that deal with foreign affairs, security and defence, which Hazare’s supporters feel isn’t fair.
Fast and Effect
Anna’s five-point letter to the prime minister
In a five-point letter to the PM, Anna Hazare explained his fast and asked the government to re-consider its stand.
On allegations that he was being instigated by people to sit on the fast Hazare wrote: “Dear Manmohan Singh ji, this is an insult to my sense of wisdom and intelligence. I am not a kid that I could be ‘instigated’ into going on an indefinite fast.
I am a fiercely independent person…. I am pained that the government, rather than addressing the issue of corruption, is trying to allege conspiracies, when there are none.”
After discussing other points, Hazare ends the letter by saying, “Kindly stop finding faults and suspecting conspiracies in our movement… Even if there were, it does not absolve you of your responsibilities to stop corruption.”
After Anna’s Attack, Pawar quits GOM on Corruption
Under attack from social activist and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday quit the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption, saying he does not want to be “associated” with the panel.
Pawar said that he has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing him that he does not want to be in the GoM.
The panel is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. “I have informed the PM in writing about quitting the GoM. I don’t want to be associated with it. The chapter is closed from my side,” Pawar said.
On Monday, Hazare had asked, “How can a minister like Sharad Pawar, who is known to possess large amounts of land in Maharashtra, head a committee that will draft the (Lokpal) Bill?”
Aamir writes to PM upporting lokpal bill
Bollywood has come out in support of social activist Anna Hazare, with superstar Aamir Khan appealing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give the matter some attention.
Aamir is the latest celebrity to rally behind the activist, the others being Shekhar Kapur, Anupam Kher and Madhur Bhandarkar.
“I am one of over a billion citizens of this country who is affected by, and most concerned about, corruption in our country.
I am one of the many who feel that strong steps need to be taken as corrective measures,” he Aamir wrote in a letter to the PM. PTI
Omar for discussion on Lokpal among JK cabinet colleagues
Stressing that there is need to take urgent steps to tackle corruption, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that before making a policy announcement with regard to the post of the Lokpal, there should be a discussion on the issue in the State cabinet. “Clearly, there is a need to take urgent steps to tackle corruption.
What those steps can be and what shape they can have is to be seen,” Omar told reporters while replying to questions on the setting up of the post of Lokpal in Jammu and Kashmir.
Courtesy – Ahmedabad Mirror
Amazing speech of Anna Hazare – a man with un-parallel courage to fight corruption in India