Many proposals made by Hazare team missing from govt draft

Many proposals made by Hazare team missing from govt draft

Many proposals made by Hazare team missing from govt draft

The draft submitted to the joint committee on Lokpal bill by the Hazare team also seeks power to the proposed ombudsman to acquire modern equipment necessary for proper investigation and inquire into the assets declaration statements filed by all MPs.

According to the Jan Lokpal Bill, an approporiate bench of Lokpal shall be deemed to be "designated authority under Section V of the Indian Telegraph Act empowered to approve interception and monitoring of messages of data or voice transmitted through telephones, Internet or any other medium..."

In the powers and functions of the Lokpal and its officers section of the civil society's draft, the ombudsman can authorise a bench of the Lokpal to issue letters rogatory in relation to any case pending investigation.

This provision is in contrast to the stand taken by the Hazare team in the fourth meeting of the joint drafting committee held on May 23 when lawyer Shanti Bhushan clarified that the intent was to allow Lokpal to directly approach the court for letters rogatory and not to route such requests through the government.

Bhushan's comment came after Home Minister P Chidambaram pointed out that the powers of issuance of letters rogatory was within the domain of the courts. A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance.

According to the civil society draft, Lokpal should have powers to make recommendations to public authorities, to make changes in their work practices to reduce the scope of corruption and whistle blower victimisation.

Their draft makes it mandatory that public authorities should send its "compliance report to Lokpal within two months of specifying detailed reasons, wherever they choose to or reject any of these recommendations".

The civil society draft also seeks power for the Lokpal to recommend cancellation or modification of a lease, licence, permission, contract or agreement, if it was obtained by corrupt means and blacklisting of a firm, company or contractor or any other person involved in corruption.

On the merger of anti-corruption wing of CBI into Lokpal, the Hazare team's draft says that the Centre shall cease to have any control over this unit. Earlier, the civil society side has been demanding the merger of Central Vigilance Commission into the Lokpal but it does not find mention in their new draft.

The government has been arguing that shifting of the CBI under the umbrella of the Lokpal would deny the Executive its own investigative wing for taking care of other issues.

The civil society draft also provides for immunity to bribe giver if he "voluntarily and gives timely" information to the Lokpal about the giving of the bribe him with entire evidence for getting the bribe taker caught and convicted".

On the panel to select Lokpal, the civil society draft says it should consist of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, two judges from Supreme Court, two High Court Chief Justices, Chief Election Commissioner, CAG and all previous chairpersons of Lokpal.

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