Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: After eight unsuccessful attempts in the span of 46 years, India finally got the much-awaited Lokpal Bill on Wednesday. The parliamentarians took the historic step of enacting the ombudsman law by which an anti-corruption watchdog would be established that will have in its purview even the office of the Prime Minister.
The landmark bill was passed in the Lok Sabha yesterday a day after the Rajya Sabha passed it on Tuesday. The Samajwadi Party vehemently opposed the bill in both the Houses and staged a walkout, however, it didn’t affected the smooth passage of the bill in Parliament as every other parties especially the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongly advocated for it.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013, was passed by voice vote amid din created by members from Seemandhra region who were protesting against division of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana state.
Activist Anna Hazare ended his nine-day long fast at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra after the Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal Bill, however, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed the Lokpal legislation as a "welcome bill" for corrupt politicians.
"It is a bad day for social activism in the country. It is a welcome bill for every corrupt politician," AAP leader Kumar Vishwas told a news agency.
The bill was pending in the Rajya Sabha for almost two years as opposition members had reservations on the draft passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011.
A select committee examined it in detail and gave its recommendations, many of which were incorporated in the amended bill, tabled in the Rajya Sabha last week.
Salient features of Lokpal Bill
Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the level of the states.
Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50 percent shall be judicial members.
50 percent of members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
The selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be through a selection committee consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI, eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee.
Prime Minister has been brought under the purview of the Lokpal.
Lokpal`s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants.
All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
Provides adequate protection for honest and upright public servants.
Lokpal will have 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 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 incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
The bill lays down clear time lines for preliminary enquiry and investigation and trial and towards this end, the bill provides for setting up of special courts.
A mandate for setting up of the institution of Lokayukta through enactment of a law by the State Legislature within a period of 365 days from the date of commencement of the Act.
With agencies inputs