I have received the following informaiton by email from a friend:
India Marches Against Corruption
Thousands of people will take to streets to demand effective anti-corruption law.
J M Lyngdoh, Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan, Most Rev Vincent M Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi and others will march from Ramlila Grounds to Jantar Mantar on 30th January, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, at 1 pm to demand enactment of a law to set up an effective anti-corruption body called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in each state. The existing Lokayukta Acts are weak and ineffective.
Kiran Bedi, Justice Santosh Hegde, Prashant Bhushan, J M Lyngdoh and others have drafted this Bill. A nation wide movement called "India Against Corruption" has been started by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Swami Agnivesh, Most Rev Vincent M Concessao Archbishop of Delhi, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare, Devinder Sharma, Sunita Godara, Mallika Sarabhai and many others to persuade government to enact this Bill.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi recently announced that Lokpal would be set up. However, the Lokpal suggested by the government is only a showpiece. It will have jurisdiction over politicians but not bureaucrats, as if politicians and bureaucrats indulge in corruption separately. And the most interesting part is that like other anti-corruption bodies in our country, the government is making Lokpal also an advisory body. So, Lokpal will recommend to the government to prosecute its ministers. Will any prime minister have the political courage to do that?
Here briefly is how this Bill will help in effectively checking corruption.
Can India turn around?
There was much worse corruption in Hong Kong in 1970s than we have in India today. Collusion between police and mafia increased and crime rate went up. Lakhs of people came on the streets. As a result, the government had to set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which was given complete powers. In the first instance, ICAC sacked 119 out of 180 police officers. This sent a strong message to the bureaucracy that corruption would not be tolerated. Today, Hong Kong has one of the most honest governance machinery. India can also turn around if we also had similar anti-corruption body. Hong Kong government enacted ICAC Bill because lakhs of people came on streets.
How will the Lokpal Bill drafted by citizens help curb corruption?
Existing System: No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government. Before starting investigation or initiating prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.
Proposed System: Lokpal at centre and Lokayukta at state level will be independent bodies. ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone?s permission. Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year. Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.
Existing System: No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.
Proposed System: Lokpal and Lokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged into Lokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.
Existing System: No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges.
Proposed System: Lokpal & Lokayukta shall have powers to investigate and prosecute any judge without needing anyone's permission.
Existing System: Nowhere to go - People expose corruption but no action is taken on their complaints.
Proposed System: Lokpal & Lokayukta will have to enquire into and hear every complaint.
Existing System: There is so much corruption within CBI and vigilance departments. Their functioning is so secret that it encourages corruption within these agencies.
Proposed System: All investigations in Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be transparent. After completion of investigation, all case records shall be open to public. Complaint against any staff of Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be enquired and punishment announced within two months.
Existing System: Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of anti-corruption agencies.
Proposed System: Politicians will have absolutely no say in selections of Chairperson and members of Lokpal & Lokayukta. Selections will take place through a transparent and public participatory process.
Existing System: Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complain to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.
Proposed System: Lokpal & Lokayukta will get public grievances resolved in time bound manner, impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay to be deducted from the salary of guilty officer and award that amount as compensation to the aggrieved citizen.
Existing System: Nothing in law to recover ill gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.
Proposed System: Loss caused to the government due to corruption will be recovered from all accused.
Existing System: Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years.
Proposed System: Enhanced punishment - The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.
Contact: India Against Corruption
A-119, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad ? 201010, UP. Ph: 09717460029. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org