Friday, September 7, 2012

Lokpal Bill should provide for Lokayukta: Lok Satta

A delegation of the Lok Satta and the Foundation for Democratic Reforms has told the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill that it shall include provisions for the constitution of Lokayukta at the State level. The States, however, may be given the option of constituting Lokayuktas.

The delegation, led by Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan impressed upon the committee headed by Mr. Satyavrat Chaturvedi that Parliament has power to legislate upon Lokayukta, considering that criminal law procedures and crime investigation come under Concurrent jurisdiction of the Center and States. Again under Article 253 of the Constitution, the Government of India is entitled to pass a law on corruption applicable throughout the country as it has become a signatory to the United Nations' Convention against Corruption. The Union Government had in the past adopted Acts on human rights and money laundering applicable throughout the country in accordance with international treaties.

The delegation, which held detailed discussions lasting for about two hours with the committee on September 6, was convinced that the Select Committee members cutting across party lines were keen on adopting a strong law to combat corruption.

The delegation underlined that all steps be taken to ensure that investigative agencies enjoy independence. Specifically, it suggested that Clause 6 A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act be dropped under which the Central Bureau of Investigation has to take prior Government permission before launching investigation against senior Government officials. The Central Vigilance Commission and not the Government shall be vested with the power to grant permission for investigations.

It also suggested amendment of Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act under which an investigating agency cannot prosecute a Government official without prior consent. The Lok Satta-FDR delegation suggested that the power to permit prosecution be taken away from the Government and entrusted to the Lokpal. The Lokpal will ascertain Government objections if any within a stipulated period and then decide on granting or denying permission for prosecution. All anti-corruption agencies at the State level by whatever name they go shall be brought under Lokayukta purview.

The delegation emphasized that there shall be stringent provisions for confiscation of property in proven corruption cases. It pointed out that the Supreme Court in 1988 upheld the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act of 1976 and suggested that there should be similar provisions for confiscation of property in corruption cases. The delegation cited instances of an NRI doctor couple and a former Illinois Governor being stripped of all of their ill-gotten wealth for indulging in fraud. In fact, the Law Commission had drafted a Bill containing such provisions for property forfeiture in corruption cases.

The delegation drew the committee's attention to certain omissions and commissions in the Bill. For instance, it has failed to bring public private partnerships involving allocation of public resources and creation of monopolies under Lokpal purview. The Select Committee has to make up for the lapse.

Again, the Bill brings tens of thousands of institutions ranging from resident welfare societies to media houses and political parties under Lokpal purview. The provision not only makes the functioning of the Lokpal unwieldy but also unconstitutional as it seeks to fetter the freedom of citizens for unrelated purposes.

The team that called on the Select Committee included Dr Ashwin Mahesh, (Lok Satta, Karnataka), Ms Ankita Verma (Lok Satta, Mumbai), Mr. Anurag Kejriwal (Lok Satta, Delhi), Mr. Senthil Kumar Arumugam (Lok Satta, Tamil Nadu), Mr. Sandeep Verma ( Lok Satta, Delhi) and Ms Tara Krishnaswamy (Lok Satta, Bangalore).


  1. Could you tell us what the Loksatta delegation said to the committee about including PMO, MPs, ministers, CMs, MLAs, Level1,2,3 govt officials and Judicial system etc under the purview of Lokpal?

  2. I don't think, there has been any change in the Lok Satta's stand on Lokpal. You can find Lok Satta's stand on all those from the following link.