The word Lokpal has been derived from the Sanskrit words “Lok” meaning People and “pala” meaning caretaker. Therefore, the word Lokpal means “caretaker of people”.
Mr. Shanti Bhushan proposed the first Lokpal Bill in 1968 and got it passed in 4th Loksabha but failed in Rajya Sabha in the year 1969. Thereafter, Lokpal Bill was introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, and 2005 and in 2008 but was never passed and is still pending in Parliament.
Under the Lokpal Bill there is a provision for filing complaints with the Ombudsman against the Prime minister, other ministers and Member of Parliament. This was for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of citizens and to install public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery by completing the investigations regarding corruption within a year.
Whenever the Lokpal bill was introduced to the House, it was referred to a joint committee of Parliament or a departmental standing committee of the Home ministry for further improvements and every time before the Government could take a final stand on the bill, the house was dissolved.
Anna Hazare, a social activist alongwith his team fought for this bill to get passed and did it on December 27, 2011. However, his team and other political parties claimed that the bill is weak and would not serve its intended purpose. Therefore, the proposed bill by the ruling Congress Party is yet to get acceptance from the Rajya Sabha. On December 29, 2011, the Parliament of India saw a lot of drama and disruption by various political parties like LJP, RJD and SP.
Features of Jan Lokpal Bill:
- An institution called Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta in each state will be set up.
- The Lokpal shall work independently like the Judiciary and no minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
- The corruption cases shall not linger for years and the investigations shall be completed within one year and the corrupt officer or judge shall be sent to jail within two years.
- The loss caused to the government shall be recovered from the offender at the time of conviction.
- If any work of a citizen is not completed within the prescribed time limit in any government office, Lokpal shall impose financial penalty on the guilty officer and the same shall be remitted to the complainant as compensation.
- The people can approach the Lokpal if his or her ration card or passport or voter card is not being made by the concerned officials within the prescribed time limit. People can also approach the Lokpal in case the roads are made of poor quality or siphoning of funds in any Panchayat takes place. Lokpal will have to complete its investigations within a period of one year, the trial will be over in next one year and the guilty shall go to jail within two years.
- Any complaint against any officer of the Lokpal shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
- The CVC, departmental vigilance and anti corruption branch of CBI shall be merged into Lokpal. The Lokpal shall have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
It shall be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to whistle blower in case of any corruption and those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.