The Lokpal Bill
The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices. Implementation of the Lokpal bill will hopefully reduce corruption in India. The basic idea of the Lokpal is borrowed from the office of the ombudsman in other countries. It provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, other ministers and members of parliament with the ombudsman. Anyone, except for a public servant, can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months. For 42 years, governments have tried to put in place the law. The bill was for the first time presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968, and was passed there in 1969. However, the Lok Sabha was dissolved, resulting in the first death of the bill. It was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008. In September 2004, prime minister Manmohan Singh said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government would lose no time in enacting the bill. But strong lobbies blocked it. The Lokpal Bill, 2010, awaits an okay from a select committee. Former chief justice of the Delhi high court and rights activist Rajinder Sachar feels the bill is “shamefully toothless and meant to give a false reassurance to the people that the government is serious in its fight against corruption”. But former chief justice of India M N Venkatachelliah feels the PM must be out of its purview.