After a long wait of more than four decades, Indian Parliament has passed an anti-corruption bill called Lokpal Bill, Both the houses of Parliament i.e Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and Lower house (Lok Sabha) passed the bill with the majority of parties voting in favour of the bill after some amendments.
The Lokpal Bill came into prominence in 2011 when social activist and Gandhian Anna Hazare sat on indefinite fast to get the bill passed and this time as well he was on a fast to up the ante against the Parliamentarians to pass the bill.
Now, that the bill is passed, and the public is waiting for its enforcement on the Government Departments, Ministries, Autonomous Government Bodies, Some Non-Government Organisation, Judiciary and Member of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies across nation, there are still some pressing issues for the world’s largest democracy to deal with.
While the Lokpal Bill has been passed its recent amendments has dented its potency. The bill in its current format has no provision for Citizen Charter, which means there has been no time limit attached to complete a requested work for the government employees concerned. Though a separate Citizen Charter Bill is still pending in the Parliament.
In addition, if a complainant files a complaint against a person which is frivolous or malicious in nature then he/she can be imprisoned for a period of up to one year. Considering the fact government agencies would be investigating the matter against a government employee or department, there is a widespread fear that a biased investigation can result in harassment for the complainant.
Besides that a whistleblower who tries to bring a scam or malpractice to Lokpal’s purview gets no protection from the state as a separate Whistleblower Bill is again pending with the Parliament.
Reeling under number of scams in recent times, it is being hoped as and when the existing Lokpal comes into effect, it keeps a check on the corrupt forces who otherwise have been taking advantage of the loopholes of the system. And reverse the trend of government officials and ministers siphoning off money meant for public good and rampant bribery practice prevalent in all government offices.