Sunday, April 24, 2011

My suggestions to the Lokpal Bill Draft Committee

I made the following comment on the website provided by the Citizen members of the Lokpal Bill Draft Committee. Note: I consider the notification and the inclusion of these members in that committee unconstitutional. But that shouldn't prevent me from offering my suggestions, no?

http://www.lokpalbillconsultation.org/

The comment number as acknowledged by their team #A736 LB.

Summary: Please do not create a Frankenstein monster. We only need a Public Ombudsman.

Please consider the following in the Lokpal bill:

1. Use the 1968 Lokpal bill as the base. Bring every constitutional office under the preview of Lokpal including the Prime Minister.

2. Ensure that only elected representatives are in the appointment panel of Lokpal. Even supreme court judges have no locus standi in any executive appointment. Arbitrary inclusion of civil society members like noble laureates is making a mockery of the constitution. Let executive find suitable candidates, legislature appoint and judiciary have the power to verify the legality of the appointment. Like it happens in CVC appointment. This method worked as evidenced in the recent removal of Shri P J Thomas. He even got his due legal recourse to state his case.

3. Do not abolish the requirement to seek the permission of the speaker/senior official to investigate or prosecute an MP/junior officers. Instead allow the Lokpal to appeal in a court of law against the speaker/senior official's decision.

4. Allow the Lokpal to order investigation by CBI or any agency of the union or the states. But do not make them subordinate to the lokpal. let them remain independent in action but under executive control for funding/personnel related reasons. Lokpal and by extension Lokayukta should not be considered as police officers but only the representative of the plaintiff. The plaintiff being the citizen who brought the issue to the Lokpal.

5. Do not bring Grievance Redressal under Lokpal. That can be considered as part of a separate "Right to Government Services Act" on the lines of "Right to Information Act". Grievance Redressal will make Lokpal unmanageable.

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Other changes, the draft committee can suggest outside the purview of the lokpal bill.

1. Changes to the Criminal procedure code (section 197) and Prevention of corruption act (section 19) as suggested by Justice Santosh Hegde.

2. Considering the creation of a Central Prosecution Commission on the lines of the CVC, CIC, CAG etc. This commission can study and comment on the arguments made by govt prosecutors in various cases. This will help check the collusion of the prosecutors with the accused to sabotage the case. Just as CAG reports are used to find faults in financial decisions made by the executive, the new Prosecution Commission reports can be used by parliament and/or the govt to act against errant prosecutors.

1 comment:

Balaji said...

keeping the judiciary out of the purview of the lokpal will be plain lunacy. not after soumitra sen, balakrishnan, dinakaran etc.

i asked Justice Hegde "why create another para-legal body when judiciary itself is unaccountable to anyone". i thought he agreed that judiciary shd be made accountable to the people. shame if judges are kept out of the lokpal bill.