Chairperson and Members of Lokpal to be Appointed Shortly
More Anti Corruption Legislations being Expedited
As a first step towards the setting up of Lokpal, the Government has invited applications for filling up one post of Chairperson and eight posts of Members in the Lokpal. Out of eight Members in the Lokpal, four posts are of Judicial Members and other four posts are for other than Judicial Members. Fifty percent of members of Lok Pal shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and Women.
The Government has circulated these vacancies to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Registrars of High Courts, Chief Secretaries of State Governments and Secretaries in the Central Government Departments and Ministries, calling for nomination of eligible candidates by Feb 7, 2014. The new enactment is indicative of the resolve of the Parliament and the Government to give to the nation an effective anti-corruption framework.
The historic Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 passed by Parliament (December 17, 2013 in Rajya Sabha and December 18, 2013 in Lok Sabha) paves the way for setting up of the institution of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States by law enacted by the respective State Legislatures within one year of coming into force of the Act. The new law provides for a mechanism for dealing with complaints of corruption against public functionaries, including those in high places.
Another significant feature of the Act is that it has taken its present shape after repeated consultations with all stake holders including civil society. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act is perhaps the only legislation in the history of independent India, which has been so widely discussed, both inside and outside Parliament and has, thus generated so much awareness in the public mind about the need to have an effective institution of Lokpal to tackle corruption.
The Government has decided to expedite some of the pending important anti-corruption legislations such as Whistle-blowers Protection Bill, 2011, Foreign Bribery Bill and Private Sector Corruption, Amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act and Right to Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services Bill in the Parliament.
Whistle-blowers Protection Bill, 2011
Persons who report the corruption or wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion which ceases demonstrable loss to the Government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant need statutory protection. The Whistle-blowers Protection Bill,2011 was passed by the Lok Sabha on Dec.27, 2011 and the said bill is now pending in the Rajya Sabha.
Foreign Bribery Bill and Private Sector Corruption
The prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public officials and officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011 was introduced in Lok Sabha in March, 2011. The Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law & Justice and Personnel has submitted its report on the Bill and the majority of recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee have been accepted by Government. The Bill could not be taken up for discussion during the recent winter session of Parliament.
Amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act
The Government has decided to amend the prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by incorporating provisions for confiscation and forfeiture of property illegally acquired by corrupt public servants. The Bill for the purpose was introduced in Parliament on Aug.19, 2013 and has been referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, and Law & Justice for examination.
Right to Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services Bill
The Government has introduced a Bill to empower the citizen and to improve accountability and transparence in governance titled ‘The Right of Citizens for Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill’ in the Lok Sabha in December, 2011. The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice has submitted its report on the Bill to Parliament and the Bill is presently pending in Lok Sabha.