Wednesday, July 6, 2011




Team Anna has placed an interesting Power Point presentation at  , giving brief comparison of the Government’s Lok Pal Bill Draft with the Jan Lok Bill Draft. 

For the sheer effort that Team Anna is taking in the matter – it needs to be saluted and supported by all people. 

There can be no doubt that India needs a strong Lok Pal, to combat the high level corruption. But, we all differ on how to make the Lok Pal strong enough to tackle the existing monumental levels of corruption.

Our Individual Perceptions are different and hence our prescriptions are bound to be slightly different. 

Let us look at a few key aspects on Jurisdictional Matters in this Post. Other matters will be dealt with, in next Post.

(i)                FIRST QN IS - WHO EXACTLY IS CORRUPT ?

It is only the Government and the Government only - which can be corrupt. Let us understand this very clearly.

It cannot be the shopwala, or the man on the street, or an NGO. They may indulge in adulteration, misuse of funds etc – but not corruption.
It is Government’s corruption only - that chokes the life of citizens. If that is curbed significantly – it does a lot of good for the citizens of India.

Our People will suffer much less. Our GDP will go up. Many private entrepreneurs will come up. India will be a much happier country to live in.

The term, Government must include whoever has state Power over citizens – from Prime minister to Panchayat officials, elected or appointed. So, there should be EFFECTIVE CHECK on all of them.

This means – we are talking of (i)Political Corruption and (ii) bureaucratic corruption both.

(ii)              Who should be the Effective Check on all of them?

If Lok Pal is given the charge of all Group A Government servants and all elected representatives – I think, his cup will be FULL. So, limiting Lok Pal’s jurisdiction to this group is both practical and sensible. Even CVC is not looking at all levels of Government servants presently.

(iii)          What about Present CVC?

Group A Government servants will get shifted from CVC to Lok Pal Jurisdiction. So, it is sensible to shift CVC also to Lok Pal Jurisdiction. Incidentally – CVC looks also at higher level officers of Banks and other PSUs. They also must come under CVC – under the Lok Pal.

CVC must be the chief Executive under Lok Pal for looking at the corruption charges against these officials presently dealt with by him.

(iv)           What about corruption at Lower levels?

There has to be EFFECTIVE CHECK on others too. Currently the CVC is not looking at less than Gr.A. These are under respective departmental Vigilance Officers.

One alternative is - Lok Pal must directly deal with Gr. A officers’ corruption, without CVC’s intervention.

CVC can directly and independently deal with Corruption cases of Grs. B, C & D – leaving irregularities not amounting to corruption to be dealt with by Departmental Vigilance systems.

(v)            The question is – why are the CVC and Vigilance Officers – not effective in curbing corruption?

If we don’t understand this – Lok Pal also will be as ineffective as CVC and Vigilance Officers.

CVC depends too much on Vigilance officers. He has no independent Investigative system to look into charges of corruption – except Vigilance Officers and CBI. CBI is used rarely. Vigilance officers system leaves much to be desired.

First, Vigilance Officers from same department /Ministry must not be heading the Vigilance System of that department and must not form the bulk of the officers in the vigilance wings. They tend to have too many friends and acquaintances among field officers -   and this familiarity itself is a negative point for combating corruption and irregularities.

Second, Only a small percentage of complaints are investigated. This implies that – most offenders get away with what they are doing.

This also implies that – Vigilance officers are free to drop complaints on persons they know / are friends with. There is too much of subjectiveness in selection of complaints for investigation.

Not all complaints go from Vigilance officers to CVC.

There are many such problem areas.

These must be taken care of, adequately – and Gr. B, C and D can be left to Vigilance system – which must come under the control of CVC – who must come under Lok Pal.

(vi)           What about NGOs,Trusts and Societies?

NGOs, Societies and Trusts belonging to ALL RELIGIONS and others must first be treated on par with companies – with compulsory Audit and declaration of Accounts. But then – Government should not differentiate this or that religion for this purpose. For them – Lok Pal is not needed. They can’t indulge in corruption.

(vii)         What about Lok Ayukta of State Governments?

This arrangement of Lok Ayuktha for state Governments must also be included in the Lok Pal Bill. It should be similar to Lok Pal. Let no Political Party escape with its Corrupt practices, by being a regional Party - simply on the ground of Federalism.

The Tahsildar’s office and the Police station are monuments of corruption in some places. But, the Party in Power is always unwilling to tackle them.

This is a Historic opportunity to introduce uniform, effective, anti-corruption systems throughout India – and should not be lost for any reason.

(viii)        Should Judiciary be under Lok Pal?

Definitely Not. Corruption in Judiciary must be looked into by an independent body consisting of Judges, Lok Pal, and CAG. The independence of Judiciary has been responsible for many reforms and should not be compromised.

Corruption in Judiciary must be looked at by not just Lok Pal, but a larger body including Judiciary itself and CAG.

(ix)          Should the Prime Minister be included under Lok Pal Jurisdiction?

Yes. But  - unless the matter directly involves corruption charge against the Prime Minister himself, with substantial proof, the PM should not himself be brought into interrogation by Lok Pal.

The office of Prime Minister must however, cooperate fully in unearthing the truth in charges against other cabinet colleagues and any others in the Ministries. This task may be delegated to Cabinet secretary. The sanctity of this highest office must be maintained – in the long term interests of the nation – unless strong corruption charges come up against the Prime Minister himself.

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