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English Release 30-July 2014
Date Month Year
  • President's Secretariat
  • President of India condoles the loss of lives in landslides in Pune
  • President congratulates medal winners in Commonwealth Games
  • The Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum will open for public viewing from August 1, 2014
  • Prime Minister's Office
  • PM condoles loss of lives in landslide in Pune district
  • Sikkim Governor calls on PM
  • Full text of PM's address at 86th ICAR Foundation Day
  • Min for Develop. of North-East Region
  • Developing Ecosystem in North Eastern Region
  • Assistance to North Eastern Region under Special Accelerated Development Programme
  • Min of Commerce & Industry
  • Subsidy Given to Agri Exporters
  • Grant of Infrastructure Status to Hotel Industry
  • No Increase in Import Duty on Apple
  • Relaxation of Conditions for FDI in Different Sectors
  • Effect of Fall in Prices of Natural Rubber
  • Jobs Created Through Manufacturing Units
  • Production of Fine Quality Tea in Uttarakhand
  • US Opposition to Section 3(D) of the Indian Patent Act
  • Min of Culture
  • Funds for World Heritage Sites
  • Restoration and Maintenance of Monuments
  • Min of Defence
  • Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha Takes Over as New COSC
  • Min of Earth Science
  • Doppler Weather Radars
  • Impact of Abnormal Weather Condition
  • COMAPS
  • Min of Environment and Forests
  • Joint Working Group – Important Platform for addressing concerns of Environment and Sustainable Development: Shri Prakash Javadekar US Special Envoy for Climate Change meets Shri Prakash Javadekar
  • Min of External Affairs
  • Supply of Uranium for peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy
  • Step Taken by Government to Reduce Delay in Passport Issuance
  • States of Indo-Us civil nuclear deal
  • Ruling on Maritime boundary between India and Bangladesh
  • Land corridor to religious places in Pakistan
  • Indo-UK Ties
  • Hindi as official language in UN
  • Haj Pilgrimage
  • Expulsion of Indian journalists by Pakistan
  • Diplomats in Indian Missions Abroad
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Union Finance Minister to Hold Meeting with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions on Comprehensive Financial Inclusion Plan and Other Issues Tomorrow
  • Min of Home Affairs
  • Review of Security Cover to VIPs
  • Claims for Freedom Fighter Pension
  • ILLICIT Drug Cultivation
  • Proposal to Restructure NDMA
  • Refugees and Illegal Migrants
  • Bharat Ratna for Major Dhyan Chand
  • Min of Human Resource Development
  • Institutions of Higher Education in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
  • Uniform Regulatory Framework for Universities
  • Increase is Expenditure on School Education
  • Changes in Education System
  • Joint Executive MBA Programme of IIT Bombay & WUSIL
  • National Madarsa Modernization Programme
  • Reforms in Higher Education
  • Reason for Reverting to 3 Years Undergraduate Degree in Delhi University
  • Government to Formulate New Education Policy
  • Decrease in out of School Children
  • Minority Youths in Higher Education
  • Min of Labour & Employment
  • Steps Taken by the Government for Construction Workers
  • Amalgamation of Schemes
  • Revision of EPF Pension
  • Amendment to Archaic Factories Act, 1948
  • Labour Plantation Act, 1951
  • Safety at Workplaces
  • Welfare of Industrial Workers
  • Interest Rate on EPF
  • Min of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises
  • Funding to MSME
  • Virtual Network for MSME
  • De-Reservation of Items from Small Scale Sector
  • Production in MSME
  • Growth in MSME Sector
  • Impetus to Young Entrepreneurs in MSME
  • Production/Export of Khadi
  • Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship
  • Min of Mines
  • Geological Survey of India
  • Development of Mining Areas
  • Mining of Iron Ore in Maharashtra
  • Min of Overseas Indian Affairs
  • Non- Resident Indians Investment Facilitation through Overseas Indian Facilitation Centres
  • Non- Resident Indians Investment Facilitation through Overseas Indian Facilitation Centres
  • Min of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
  • Officials with Doubtful Integrity
  • Grievances of Pensioners
  • Performance Related Incentives
  • Eradication of Corruption
  • CBI Investigation
  • ACC Appointments
  • Min of Petroleum & Natural Gas
  • Press Release
  • Roadmap for Exploitation of Methane
  • Measures to Increase Exploration of Gas and Oil
  • Steps to Make Cities Kerosene Free
  • Fiscal Subsidy on Domestic LPG
  • Global crude oil price of Indian Basket increased to US$ 106.34 per bbl on 29.07.2014
  • Ministry of Railways
  • Ministry of Railways Clarifies that There is No Plan Whatsoever to Replace All Second Sleeper Coaches with AC Coaches in Mail and Express Trains
  • Min of Statistics & Programme Implementation
  • Provisional Results of Sixth Economic Census
  • Min of Steel
  • Iron-Ore Supplied by NMDC
  • Review of Safety and Security of Steel Plants
  • Min of Textiles
  • Santosh Gangwar Launches MIS for Skill Scheme
  • Ministry of Tourism
  • Steps taken to attract Foreign Tourists
  • Countering Negative Publicity of India in International Media
  • Foreign Tourists
  • National Mission to encourage Pilgrimage Tourism
  • Promotion of Cyclopean Walls in Rajgir, Bihar as Tourist Destination
  • India and Australian State of Victoria discuss further strengthening of bilateral cooperation in Tourism Sector
  • Min of Urban Development
  • 16 Former Ministers Served Eviction Notices For Unauthorized Stay; Owe Damage Charges of Rs.21 Lakhs Per Month
  • 16 Former Ministers Served Eviction Notices for Unauthorized Stay; Owe Damage Charges of Rs.21 Lakhs Per Month
  • Min of Youth Affairs & Sports
  • India won 10 medals on day 6 of CWG 2014

Previous Date

 
Special Service and Features30-June, 2011 16:30 IST
Jan Lokpal : Cure Worse than the Disease (Part-II)

Kapil Sibal*

The jurisdiction of the Jan Lokpal Bill is all pervasive. It covers all public servants including members of the higher Judiciary. This Legislation seeks to break new ground. It is an attempt to reign in and discipline members of the higher Judiciary. This has far reaching consequences. First, some eminent Jurists believe it might fall foul of the basic structure of the Constitution. The autonomy and independence of the Judiciary is protected under the Constitution, which allows a member of the higher Judiciary to be removed only through the cumbersome impeachment process. The intent was to ensure that justice is administered without fear or favour. Instead, we need a robust Judicial Accountability Bill.

The Jan Lokpal Bill provides an alternative machinery wherein 11 unelected wise men will have the sole authority to prosecute a member of the higher Judiciary. The consequences are even worse, when you consider that under it the Jan Lokpal Bill will have independent investigating and prosecuting agencies. No judge will ever dare differ with the views of a prosecutor of the Jan Lokpal since he might face prosecution himself if his orders are misunderstood.

One of the litigants to a dispute is always unhappy with the outcome of a Court proceeding. Presently, unhappy litigants are willing to face the wrath of the Court by hurling unsubstantiated scandalous allegations against Judges. With the Jan Lokpal in place, these allegations will be made on a daily basis, threatening the autonomy of the judicial process, vitiating the course of justice. We cannot allow this to happen.

The second matter of concern is that the Jan Lokpal seeks to arrogate to itself the power to discipline Government servants. This would require a Constitutional amendment. At present, the tenure of a Government servant is protected by the procedural requirements embedded in Article 311 of the Constitution. Besides, the quantum of punishment is required to be determined by the Union Public Service Commission on a reference made to it under Article 320 (3)(c) of the Constitution. In the event of such an amendment, the Jan Lokpal will have the authority to discipline all employees of the Central Government. This is a directional shift from the existing Constitutional structure and interferes directly in matters of mal-administration.

This will paralyze Government functioning. Government servants will be fearful of possible disciplinary proceedings and loath to obey the hierarchy of officers above them. No Government can and should allow this to happen. Everyday complaints will be lodged by Government servants against each other to settle personal grievances. Decision-making will be a casualty for fear of a complaint by a colleague. Those far removed from administration are providing solutions, which are both utopian and impractical.

The Jan Lokpal also wishes to bring the office of the Prime Minister under its jurisdiction. In a democracy, all public servants are accountable. None can object in principle to such a proposition. The issue is whether the Jan Lokpal consisting of 11 wise-men should be given that authority? One Jurist has recently opined that past experience does not show that all our Prime Ministers have been angels. I humbly submit that this also holds true of our judges. That all are not angels. Our future experience is also likely to prove that members of the Jan Lokpal are also not angels. Independence does not make functionaries angelic.

None of us is being more loyal than the King when we seek to protect, not the individual, but the office of the Prime Minister. Given the nature of our polity, quick-fire unsubstantiated allegations made for political mileage are likely to paralyze Institutions. The office of the Prime Minister is the lynchpin of our Parliamentary democracy. An independent non-angelic Jan Lokpal could well destabilize the entire system and investigate a Prime Minister only to find out that the allegations were not true. That is a distinct possibility. Such an eventuality will diminish Parliamentary democracy.

Under the present system, the Prime Minister is not immune from prosecution. In a given case, when facts are in the public domain, the system will not allow a corrupt Prime Minister continue in office. The reference to Jacques Chirac by an eminent jurist is inapt because his prosecution started several years after demitting office, since the French President has immunity from prosecution while in office. Besides, the prosecution relates to a time when he was the Mayor of Paris (1977 – 1995). Reference to Silvio Berlusconi is equally inappropriate.

Given an unstable neighbourhood and terrorism being a real threat, weakening the Institution of the Prime Minister would be a monumental folly.

Yet another concern is the attempt by the Jan Lokpal to prosecute Members of Parliament, who are protected under Article 105(2) of the Constitution only for speeches made, and the right to vote exercised, in the House. These are two precious rights. To allow them to be the subject of investigation would encourage members of an intensely polarized polity to question every speech made and every vote cast. This is hardly a recipe for a mature solution. Such a power vested in the Lokpal would again require an amendment to the Constitution. The remedy lies with the Ethics Committees of Parliament to be far more vigilant and unrelenting in dealing with Members against whom there is prima facie proof of corrupt practices and for the Speaker to sanction persecution.

Other controversial provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill include transferring the CVC and the anti-corruption wing of the CBI to the Jan Lokpal; the Lokpal under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act becoming an authority, authorized to interfere and monitor messages, voice and data transmitted through telephone, internet or any other media without reference to existing legal procedures; having the authority to bind the Finance Minister to its budgetary demands; issuing directions in public interest during the course of an investigation for taking action as recommended by the Jan Lokpal; impose on business entities who may be beneficiaries of corrupt acts, fine up to 5 times the loss caused to the public and having it recovered from the assets of the business entity as well as personal assets of its Managing Director and others. (PIB Features)

Union Cabinet Minister and a Member of the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill.

PRA/VN
SS-95/SF-95/30.06.2011
(Release ID :72941)

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