The Jan Lokpal Bill

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The Jan Lokpal Bill, is an anti-corruption bill drafted and drawn up by civil society activists in India seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body to investigate corruption cases. This bill also proposes improvements to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011, which was to be passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011.

The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, compensate citizen grievances, and protect whistle-blowers. The word Lokpal was coined in 1963 by late Mr. L.M. Singhvi, a member of parliament during a debate.

The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Adv. Shanti Bhushan in 1969 and passed by the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969.

The bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011 and was passed by the house on 27 December 2011 as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011. The bill was subsequently tabled in the Rajya Sabha on 29 December 2011. On 21 May 2012, the bill was referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for consideration.

The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 after making certain amendments to the earlier Bill and in the Lok Sabha on 18 December 2013. The Bill received assent from President Pranab Mukherjee on 1 January 2014 and came into force from 16 January 2014.

A focused campaign “India Against Corruption” (IAC) was started in 2011. Anna Hazare is the head of civil society and the IAC movement. Through these collaborative efforts till August 2011, IAC was able to upload the 23rd version of the Jan Lokpal Bill draft. As of January 2014, the Delhi State Government led by CM Arvind Kejriwal was preparing to adopt the Jan Lokpal Bill, but was unable to introduce it to the house.

The first version of the Lokpal Bill drafted by the Government of India headed by United Progressive Alliance in 2010 was considered ineffective by anti-corruption activists from the civil society. These activists, under the banner of IAC, came together to draft a citizen’s version of the Lokpal Bill later called the Jan Lokpal.

Public awareness drives and protest marches were carried out to campaign for the bill. However, public support for the Jan Lokpal Bill draft started gathering steam after Anna Hazare, a Gandhian announced that he would hold an indefinite fast from 5 April 2011 for the passing of the Lokpal/ Jan Lokpal bill. The government has however accepted it.

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