The scope of the Lokpal Bills brought ‘divergence of views’ between the government and the civil society relating to many of its issues as reported on 17th August 2011. Minister of State informed the lower house in written that the state governments had taken a stand that they could only furnish their views when a draft bill has been presented to them since some civil society members had some divergence of views with issues relating to the scope of the Lokpal bill.
Some of the major issues on which the divergent views were based on were:
- If the Prime Minister and the judges of the Supreme Court/ High Court be brought within the purview of the Lokpal
- If the conduct of MPs inside Parliament (speaking or voting in the House) be brought within the purview of the Lokpal
- If there be a single enactment providing for Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the state?
The Minister of State also said that to deal with the menace in the country there is the need for a well-built and secure anti-corruption law in the society.
On April 8, 2011, the Government had decided to constitute a joint drafting committee to prepare a draft for the Lokpal Bill that would include Anna Hazare and his five nominees and other five nominee minister of the Government.
Finally, on August 4, 2011, the Lokpal Bill was drafted and introduced to the Lok Sabha based on the careful and measured steps taken by the joint drafting committee and based on the inputs given by the Chief Ministers of the state and by the political parties.
Mr. Narayanasamy pointed out that the purpose of the bill was to establish the institution of Lokpal that could deal with complaints related to the corruption against public functionaries at high places.
Apart from other things the main focus of the Bill is to establish the institution of Lokpal with its prosecution wing and investigation, granting the Lokpal with the powers of civil court for the enforcement of attendance. The bill also empowers the Lokpal for making searches and seizures and also to attach property which, prima facie, would be acquired by corrupt means.
At all levels of administration already exists an elaborate vigilance system. It is the primary responsibility of the secretary head of the department to maintain the integrity and purity of the organization.
The Minister of State, Mr. Narayanasamy noted that besides the scope of Lokpal exists comprehensive legislation and statutory provisions under which various laws such as CrPC, IPC, PC Act, etc, have rigorous and proper provisions to punish those who are found guilty.
Mr. Narayanasamy informed the lower house that the Government had taken the responsibility to make up a Group of Ministers who could help the government consider measures to tackle corruption. The government had also ratified United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and introduced the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 in Parliament.
The government is fully sound and committed to implementing policy to eradicate corruption from all spheres of life. The government is moving progressively to “zero-tolerance against corruption” by improving accountability and transparency between itself and the civil society.