What action will be taken by Lokpal against corrupt people?
There is corruption at all levels – in panchayat works, in construction of roads, in NREGA, mid day meals, rations, 2G spectrum, leasing of mines, Common Wealth Games etc. Jan Lokpal will ensure that corrupt people are punished through the following provisions.
a. Time bound investigations
Investigation in any case of corruption will have to be completed within one year. Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to employ more officers, if required, to complete investigations in time. After investigations, Lokpal or Lokayukta shall take two actions:
- Dismiss corrupt officers: After investigations, if adequate evidence is found, then after giving an opportunity of being heard, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to remove a government officer from job or to impose any other departmental penalties like reduction in rank, stopping promotion etc. These orders could be challenged in High Court.
- Time bound trial: In addition to imposing departmental penalties, if a case is made out, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will file a case in trial court. The court will have to complete the trial and announce punishment within next one year. If required, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta will have powers to direct the government to set up additional courts to complete the trial in time.
b. Recovery of loss caused to government
During investigations,if there is strong evidence against corruption, Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta shall ban the transfer of assets of the accused or the assets of those who would have benefitted from the accused. At the time of conviction, the court will assess the loss caused by the accused to the government. This loss will be recovered from these assets and as land revenue. (Currently, there is no provision in our law to recover the bribes earned by corrupt people or the loss caused by them to the government).
c. Confiscation of assets
Each bureaucrat, politician and judge would be required to submit a statement of moveable and immoveable assets owned by him and his family on an annual basis, which will be put on the official website. If an asset is subsequently found to be owned by a public servant, it would be deemed to have been obtained through corrupt means and would be confiscated. Prosecution proceedings would be initiated against the accused.
Similarly, after each election, the Jan Lokpal will verify the assets declared by each candidate. If undeclared assets are found, a case will be registered and investigations started.
d. Increased punishment for corruption
Presently, the maximum punishment for corruption is seven years, which is believed to be very less. This is proposed to be increased to life sentence.
e. Illegally obtained benefits are deemed to be obtained through corruption
In the current system, if anyone obtains any benefit from the government illegally, it is difficult to prove that he did so by paying bribes. Therefore, it has been provided in Jan Lokpal Bill that if a person obtains any benefit from the government in violation of a law or rules and regulations, that person along with concerned public servants shall be deemed to have indulged in corrupt practice.
f. Power to punish if its orders are not followed
If orders of the Jan Lokpal or Jan Lokayukta are not obeyed, it will have the powers to impose financial penalties and also initiate contempt proceedings against the guilty officials.
Reference site: IAC Site