Three years of BJP government and still no Lokpal

The institution of Lokpal is yet to become functional, since the Act needs some amendments to resolve certain issues relating to appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal

GN Bureau | April 6, 2017


#Common Cause   #BJP   #black money   #corruption   #Anna Hazar   #Lokpal Bill   #Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act  



In a little over a month, the BJP government would be completing three years in office. Yet, there is no sign of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas who would have battled black money.
 
Wondering why? Well, the sticking point is that there is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The rules are quite clear: the biggest opposition party has to have at least 10 percent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha, or 55 seats, to be eligible for the post. The Congress has 44 MPs, followed by J Jayalalithaa's AIADMK at 37.
 
So, for three long years, thanks to this technicality this country did not get the Lokpal for which Anna Hazare led a mass movement in 2011.
 
An upset Anna Hazare shot off a letter on March 30 to prime minister Narendra Modi, saying “After your government came to power, one began to believe that the demand for Lokpal will be fulfilled. That, however, hasn't happened."
 
“I was silent for three years but the time has come to relaunch the agitation against corruption. The non-implementation of the Lokpal Act is a great insult to the sentiment of the people," said Hazare


 
As things stand today, there is little hope in sight. The ruling party is gearing up for the 2019 general election after a fantastic victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls and there is not even a murmur about the Lokpal.
 
 
NGO Common Cause noted that The Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act, 2013 finally came into effect on January 16, 2014. More than forty four years had elapsed since the first Lokpal Bill was passed by the 4th Lok Sabha and allowed to lapse, as the Rajya Sabha could not pass it before the dissolution of the former. The subsequent versions of the Bill could not progress even this far because the piloting governments demonstrated a lack of commitment to the concept of an overarching, independent integrity institution.
 
Union minister Jitendra Singh informed during the current session of parliament that “The institution of Lokpal is yet to become functional, since the Act needs some amendments, inter alia, to resolve certain issues relating to appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal, etc. in the absence of a Leader of Opposition recognized as such in the Lok Sabha”.
 
Accordingly, Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 18, 2014. The same was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice which has submitted its report on December 7, 2015 in the parliament. The recommendations are under consideration.
 
As per the provisions of Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013: “Every State shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State, if not so established, constituted or appointed, by a law made by the State Legislature, to deal with complaints relating to corruption against certain public functionaries, within a period of one year from the date of commencement of this Act.”
 
Thus, Section 63 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 stipulates that it is the sole prerogative of the state government concerned to enact law in this regard. So, establishment of the institution of the Lokayukta including any appointment therein falls within the domain of the states, the minister said.
 

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