Lokpal bill: Key differences between government, civil society

August 4th, 2011 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) The anti-graft Lokpal bill was introduced in parliament Thursday amid vehement protests from the opposition. Civil society activists, led by Gandhian Anna Hazare, too criticised the government draft. Here are the key points of disagreement between the government and the civil society on the bill:

Prime Minister: The civil society wants the prime minister to be under the Lokpal’s ambit. The government has kept the prime minister out of the Lokpal’s purview, but he/she can be probed after demitting office. Opposition parties too are opposed to keeping the prime minister out of the Lokpal’s ambit.

Higher judiciary: The civil society wants the Lokpal to have powers to probe the higher judiciary, including judges of the Supreme Court. The government has kept the higher judiciary out.

MPs: The government has excluded the acts of MPs inside parliament and in parliamentary committees outside the Lokpal’s purview, which the civil society has opposed.

Lower bureaucracy: According to the government draft, only officers of joint secretary level and above are covered under the Lokpal. The civil society wants the entire bureaucracy to come within the Lokpal’s purview.

CBI and CVC: The government has struck down civil society’s proposal to merge the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) with the Lokpal.

Punishment: The civil society has proposed minimum one year rigorous imprisonment and maximum of life imprisonment for the corrupt. The government has capped the maximum punishment at 10 years.

Lokayukta: The civil society wants the appointment of Lokayuktas, the ombudsmen in states, to be overseen by the Lokpal, which the government has struck down.

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