Anna's Lokpal Vs Congress Govt Lokpal

With Anna's movement getting stronger day by day with support from all parts of society, Congress is really feeling that the land under its feet is now burning.
In an attempt to somewhat pacify the struggle and take the attention of of the main issue of corruption, it is proposing its own version of Lokpal bill.

There are many ground level fundamental differences between Anna's Version of Lokpal and Congress Govt's Proposed Lokpal.

In our todays;s Post our expert Political commentator, summarises the key differences between Anna Lokpal and Congress Govt.'s Lokpal.




1. Members of Lokpal Council / Committee

Anna's Lokpal: There would be 10 members of the Lokpal and one chairperson. A search committee comprised of members of civil society and former heads of independent government agencies like the Central Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General would provide a short list of recommendations. Final selection would be done by a committee comprised of the PM, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, the two youngest judges of the Supreme Court, two youngest Chief Justices of High Courts, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Chief Election Commissioner.
 
Congress Govt's Lokpal: There would be up to nine members of the Lokpal, including a chairperson, who would have to be a former chief justice or judge in the Supreme Court of India. At least half the other members would have to come from the judiciary. For the remaining spots, candidates would be required to have at least 25 years of experience in areas including anti-corruption policy, public administration, finance and law. These people would be appointed by a committee of eight, including the prime minister, Lok Sabha speaker, Lok Sabha opposition leader, Rajya Sabha opposition leader, one Cabinet minister, one judge, one legal scholar and one person of “eminence in public life.”


2. The Scope of Bill

Hazare’s Team: The Lokpal would have powers over sitting or retired PMs, ministers, bureaucrats and the judiciary.

Congress Govt's Lokpal: The Lokpal could investigate a prime minister only once he or she leaves office, and also would have power to probe cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and senior bureaucrats, as well as bodies and trusts that receive public donations or government funds. While it isn’t stated explicitly, the bill could apply to many non-governmental organizations. The bill wouldn’t cover the judiciary; the government has proposed handling that through a separate Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill.
3. Time - Bound Investigations

Anna's Lokpal: The Lokpal would have to complete any corruption investigation within a year and would then file a case in trial court. The court would have to complete the trial and announce punishment within the next year.

Congress Govt's Lokpal:The Lokpal would have an investigative wing that would carry out a preliminary inquiry within a maximum of three months of receiving a complaint. On the basis of that inquiry, which would include a hearing for the person accused, the Lokpal would decide whether to proceed further. It must complete any investigation within a year of the original complaint, but preferably six months. After that, the ombudsman must file a complaint in a special corruption court, recommend disciplinary action or dismiss the complaint.  A trial must be completed within a year. This can be extended, three months at a time, to an extra year, provided that reasons for requiring the extra time are provided in writing.


4. The Investigative Power of Lokpal Ayukta

Anna's Lokpal: The Lokpal would have authority to order phone surveillance, in addition to other investigative powers. 

Congress Govt's Lokpal:The Lokpal would have broad-ranging powers to collect documents from government agencies, but only the Home Ministry would be allowed to approve a phone tap in the course of an investigation.

5. Fake Complains

Anna's Lokpal: There would be only fines, no imprisonment, for frivolous complaints, except for complaints against Lokpal members and staff. In these cases, a frivolous complaint could be punished by three months jail as well as a fine.

Congress Govt's Lokpal: The Lokpal would punish frivolous complaints with jail time of two to five years and/or a fine of 25,000 rupees ($555) to 200,000 rupees.

6.Removal of Corrupt Officers
  
Anna's Lokpal: The Lokpal would have authority to remove a government official after conducting an investigation. Such a move could be challenged in court.

 
Congress Govt's Lokpal: The Lokpal could advise that an official be removed from office, after it conducts an investigation, but the authority to actually remove an official would rest with the central government.

7. Fast track Justice

Anna's Lokpal: High Courts would have special benches to fast-track corruption cases emanating from Lokpal investigations.
Congress Govt's Lokpal: The draft bill allows for special courts to be set up to try corruption cases.
8.Jurisdiction of Bill (Central/ State Govt)

Anna's Lokpal: The central Lokpal would be accompanied by similar 11-member bodies in every state so that state-level bureaucrats and politicians are also held accountable. The proposal doesn’t say whether these would absorb or replace the existing anti-corruption ombudsman agencies that already exist in several states.
  
Congress Govt's Lokpal: The bill only creates a Lokpal for the central government