Historic Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill passed
The parliament passed the historic Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, paving the way for establishment of an ombudsman to fight against corruption in public offices and ensure accountability on the part of public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards. Welcoming the Bill’s passage, 76-year-old social activist Anna Hazare broke his fast, into its ninth day, in Ralegaon Siddhi, Maharashtra.
What is Lokpal Bill 2011?
The Lokpal Bill, 2011, also referred to as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, is an anti-corruption law in India which “seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connecting them. The bill was introduced in parliament following massive public protests led by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his associates.
Highlights of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011
- The bill provides for the setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas at the States.
- The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight members of which 50% shall be judicial members.The Chairperson may be either a serving or retired Chief Justice of India, or a Judge of the Supreme Court or an eminent person. Fifty per cent of the total members shall be from the higher judiciary.
- The Chairperson and the members of the Lokpal shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Selection Committee consists of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him. One eminent person recommended by the Selection committee and nominated by the President will be its fifth member.
- Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
- A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will recommend selection of the Director, CBI. Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director of Prosecution under the overall control of Director.
- The appointment of the Director of Prosecution, CBI will be made on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
- Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal with the approval of Lokpal.
The Bill also mandates setting up of Lokayuktas through enactment of a law by the State Legislature within 365 days from the date of commencement of the Act.