The Delhi Cabinet passed the Jan Lokpal Bill on Wednesday, bringing respite to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party which has been facing considerable flak over its failure to push the Bill since it swept the Delhi Assembly elections in February this year.
While the Bill is set to be tabled in the Assembly next week, here are five things you need to know about the controversial legislation.
- The Bill is majorly directed towards curbing corruption by creating a 'Lokpal' or ombudsman. It came into public limelight after the nationwide India Against Corruption movement spearheaded by social worker and activist Anna Hazare.
- The Bill provides for the Lokpal to have superintendence over all central investigation agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for cases referred to it by the Lokpal. It will also have a committee presided by the Prime Minister, responsible for recommendation and selection of the CBI director. To keep CBI officials from affecting investigations, the Bill disallows transfer of investigating officers without the Lokpal's consultation.
- To give the Bill more teeth, surprise raids and searches on public servants as well as confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, are allowed even while trial is in progress. It also provides for special courts and preliminary investigations in a strictly time-bound manner.
Keeping with the spirit of quasi-federalism and decentralization, each state is mandated to institute a 'Lokayukta' a year after the amended Act comes into force.
- After a raging controversy, the PM, political parties and judiciary have been excluded from the purview of the Lokpal Bill.