How “The Lok Pal” Can Fit in Indian Constitutional System
Mr. Anna Hazare is trying to fix Lok Pal in an already crowded space shared by investigative agencies like CBI, RAW, IG, Police, CAG & multi layer judicial system consisting of Supreme Court, High Court and Lower Courts etc. The entire law enforcing system is already choked with multiple authorities &; there does not appear any space for the most advertised position of the Lok Pal. Any attempt to bring constitutional amendments on the line suggested by senior congress leaders will further complicate the subject.
The Lok Pal theory centers on the devil of corruption. Anna Hazare feels that his Lok Pal will significantly change the centuries old Indian culture and tradition. He must recollect the history of this country right from Ramayana, Mahabharata to entry of Mughals and then British. During each of this period one can read innumerable instances, where the people of this land behaved questionably. Their moral fiber was often exposed. People invaded us from different parts of the world. Muslims & British did not bring large army. They only found Indians accessible and corruptible. In fact Muslims & British only desired business opportunities on this golden land but their adventurous spirit was rewarded immeasurably due to materialism & greed in the minds of the people.
In spite of all the reasons to feel cynical about the past, we must appreciate the initiative of Anna Hazare and sanguinely look for improved moral environment. Coming back to the core issue of Lok Pal, we have to find an appropriate space to park this authority.
The utility of Lok Pal has been comprehensively and exhaustively debated at length both in paper and electronic media. Many intellectuals and philosophers are of the opinion that, there is no need for this Lok Pal as trouble lies with the application & performance of the deterrent system. If investigating agencies and courts can function vigorously and resourcefully the various issues can be addressed without the Lok Pal also.
Lok Pal will only be supplementary drain of the nation’s scarce financial resources. New offices, staff, statutary administration expenses running into billions will make it another Nandan Nilekani’s UID office, which is milking the government with both hand. No body can understand what he is really doing? Where is the application of technology in his job? Why our Election Commission (issuer of E. C. voter cards) could not do this job?
In view of various ground level realities and opinions expressed through media, Mr. A. H. may recast his Lok Pal giving it somewhat different shape. Lok Pal should not be a scary villain. This authority should be better projected as a guide to the people. The office of the Lok Pal can be used to bridge the gap of the trust between the people and the governance. Mr. Anna Hazare and the Government may format the “Lok Pal Authority “on the following lines.
Organisational Structure “The Lok Pal Authority”
1. President of India and State Governors enjoy surplus financial budgets, administrative infrastructure and office premises. The job responsibilities of the President and Governors is also kept bare minimum under the constitution. To make better utilization of surpluses with these high places, Lok Pal office can be set up in their citadel. Chief Lok Pal should operate from the Presidential facilities, while State Lok Pal’s can perform from the Governor’s setup.
2. All State Lok Pal’s should be accountable to Chief Lok Pal and Chief Lok Pal should be accountable to the President of India.
3. Retired Supreme Court and High Court judges with clean image should be appointed as Chief Lok Pal / Lok Pal by the last retired Chief Justice and sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by unanimous consent.
4. The tenure of each Lok Pal should be maximum three years non extendable. The compensation should be the same as last drawn in regular service. It should not be change during the entire tenure of his office.
5. Lok Pal should take up public complaints and also suo-motto cases as per his discretion. Suo- motto cases can be based on information from media reports or any other source. He should then proceed to seek clarification from the concerned government officer, institution or any other person / organization. No one should be out of his jurisdiction. Clarification sought by Lok Pal should be delivered within maximum thirty days. Thereafter, the Lok Pal can recommend further investigation, monitor investigation and recommend suitable action to courts against the any person. The Lok Pal reports must considered (can not be ignored) by all concerned. Any default should be deemed to be a failure in performance of official duties.
6. In view of amazing web technology and on line visual software programming, Lok Pal office can easily work with 100% transparency. Their daily activities can be placed on websites in proper formats. All action like complaints, follow up , status of complaints , recommendations etc. should be instantly placed on the web network. Any one should be in position to access information and status of their complaints from home computers. Lok Pal can really function as paper less office.
7. Courts must look into Lok Pal website / e- mails while delivering their judgments.
Proven integrity of retired judges and their high professional competence, matured age and disciplined approach coupled with transparency tool through application of web technology can give astonishing results in achieving Anna Hazare objectives. Lok Pal office can be a strong deterrent against tyrannical attitude under the current governing system. The Lok Pal office will also facilitate in timely fishing of delinquents in the system irrespective of the fact that, they represent business, bureaucracy, defense or politics. All will be indistinguishable in the office of Lok Pal.
Finally, If , the office of the Lok Pal is founded on above lines it will save good amount of tax payers money and boost the morale of common person of the country. My earnest request to Mr. Anna Hazare, Prime Minister Mr. Man Mohan Singh and Congress party leader to give a serious thought to the most simple solution of the most complex issue faced by the country.
Tapuriah Jain & Associates
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