The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as Grievance Redressal And Whistleblower Protection Act, 2010, is a draft anti-corruption bill drawn up by prominent civil society activists seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent corruption investigation body. The improvements has also been proposed to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 which was recently passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011.
The primary focus of the Jan Lokpal Bill is to effectively discourage corruption, redress grievances of citizens, and to examine the effectiveness of the current system. If this would have been made into law, the bill would create an independent body called the Lokpal which would be empowered to register and investigate complaints of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats without prior government approval.
For initiating the campaign, India Against Corruption (IAC) is formed whose motive is a citizen’s movement to demand strong anti-corruption laws. Lokpal bills were introduced several times since 1968, yet they were never passed by the Indian Parliament. After a fast by veteran social activist Anna Hazare and widespread protests by citizens across India, the Government of India constituted a 10-member Joint Committee of ministers and civil society activists to draft an effective Jan Lokpal Bill. The primary focus of IAC movement is to ensure a strong Lokpal bill. The IAC is a strictly voluntary organization and its participants are bound by the IAC code of conduct.
However, being the two faces of the same coin, controversies and criticism are also associated with the movement. Anna Hazare has been criticized for being an agent of RSS(Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), which was later condemned and denied by Anna for his Association. A wave of silent war emerged due to Anna’s comments for Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar. During his visit to Gujarat, Hazare changed his view and criticized Modi for rampant corruption. He urged Modi to appoint a Lokayukta. He also commented that the media had projected an incorrect image of Vibrant Gujarat.
Gandhian Anna Hazare said that civil society activists were planning their next strategy to ensure a tough Lokpal Bill and that much more needed to be done to fight corruption in the country. He was speaking to reporters a day after government agreed to constitute a 10-member Joint Committee, including civil society members to draft an effective Lokpal Bill. The veteran activist, who sat on a hunger stir for 98 hours, however, admitted that he could not fathom that the movement led by him would generate such a massive nationwide support. He said he was happy with the government’s decision over the Joint Committee while noting the Lokpal Bill should be introduced in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. Hazare said it was time to involve people from across the country when it came to issues like fighting corruption “because it affects each one of us”. Calling the agitation a victory of people’s power, Hazare, however, reminded all that it was just the beginning of the fight a gainst corruption.