The difference between 2014 and 2015 Janlokpal Bills, and AAP’s counters

The draft Bill gives the Janlokpal the power to investigate any allegation of corruption in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Written by Sweta Dutta | Updated: December 2, 2015 10:56:58 am
AAP, Yogendra yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, open dialogue, swaraj samvad, swaraj samvad in AAP, delhi news, city news, delhi newsline, local news File photo of  Yogendra Yadav(R), Prashant Bhushan (L). (Source: Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

The following are points contested by former AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav on the Janlokpal Bill:

1. Selection Committee

2014 Bill – 7 member committee comprising the Chief Minister of Delhi + Leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly + 2 judges from Delhi High Court + 1 person from amongst previous Chairpersons of Janlokpal + 2 persons from amongst retired judges of SC/HC, retired Chief of Army, Navy, Airforce, retired chief secretaries/principal secretaries to the govt, retired vice-chancellors, retired CEC/CIC/CAG, retired members of UPSC, retired secretaries to the Government of India. The committee has two out of seven members from the political class.

2015 Bill – 4 member committee comprising of the Chief Minister of Delhi + Leader of Opposition in Assembly + Speaker of the Legislative Assembly + Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. Three out of the four members are from political class.

AAP rebuttal: The selection process has removed eminent persons after taking cognizance of the Supreme Court ruling on the NJAC issue wherein a clear case was made out that the “eminent persons” was an ambiguous term and open to misuse. The current selection panel is well balanced with the Chief Justice of the State High Court, the Leader of Opposition, the Speaker and the Chief Minister. It is also open to amendment.

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2. Investigation and Prosecution Wing

2014 Bill – It had the provision for an independent Investigation and Prosecution Wing to be constituted by the Commission.

2015 Bill – No investigative machinery has been given to or placed under Lokpal as per the section 10 of the proposed bill. This means that the Lokpal will have to carry its investigations through officers and machinery provided by governments. Needless to say the investigating officers would obviously be under the control of governments which provide the investigators.

AAP rebuttal: We are the architects of the JanLokpal movement, the people who drafted a bill that gives the Lokpal full powers to investigate and even prosecute. We are screaming ourselves hoarse that is blatantly false propaganda, that full power to create the investigative wing are described in Section 10 (1) and Section 10 (10). But no one is listening!

3. Jurisdiction of Janlokpal

2014 Bill – No phrase such as “Janlokpal may proceed to inquire or investigate into the allegation of corruption occurring in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

2015 Bill – Section 7 of the Bill says, “Janlokpal may proceed to inquire or investigate into the allegation of corruption occurring in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.” As per the proposed bill, jurisdiction of the Lokpal would be to investigate any corruption offence in Delhi, be it various agencies and functions under the central government. It means that the state Lokpal can investigate the central government as well.

AAP rebuttal: It’s the same bill that ever was. It always included all government officials in the geographical state boundary. The Delhi Police can arrest a Delhi government employee for slapping another person, they can also arrest a central government employee for the same offence. The Delhi Anti Corruption Bureau, until it was subverted by the Modi Government, entertained complaints of both state and central officials.

4. Removal of Chairperson and members of Janlokpal

2014 Bill – The Chairperson or any other member shall only be removed by the President on recommendation from the High Court after an inquiry on a complaint against the concerned.

2015 Bill – Can be removed by the Lieutenant Governor after a motion passed by the majority of the total membership and 2/3rd of members in the assembly present and voting.

AAP rebuttal: Is impeachment a process where a CM or a PM gets up and dismisses people with a wave of hand? How many Judges have been impeached in India since Independence? How can you reach such an unfounded, baseless conclusion merely on Prashant Bhushan’s rant?

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