Lok Pal Bill Standing Committee Time Line and Proceeding Lok Pal Bill Statement of Objects and Reasons
Lok Pal Bill Standing Committee Time Line and Proceeding Lok Pal Bill Statement of Objects and Reasons
Time Line of the Lok Pal Bill standing Committee
1. Lokpal Bill, 2011 was referred to the Committee on August 8, 2011
2. On August 27, 2011 both the Houses of Parliament discussed the issue and the proceedings were directed to be transmitted to the Standing Committee.
3. Barely four days thereafter, before any work could start, the Standing Committee’s term lapsed. In effect, in law and in fact, no Standing Committee of Parliament existed from August 31, 2011 till September 16, 2011.
4. The present Committee could, therefore, become operational only after re-constitution w.e.f. September 23, 2011 when it held its second meeting.
5. the Committee had with great alacrity held its first meeting with Team Anna for over two hours on August 10, 2011
6. From September 23, 2011 till November 24, 2011, the Committee held 12 sittings spread over approximately 30 hours. During this period, 38 persons / organizations came before the Committee as witnesses to present their views.
7. These included virtually every segment of society, including, lawyers and jurists, former Chief Justices of India, representative organizations like the Bar Council of India, the heads and office bearers of diverse chambers of commerce, the heads and office bearers of diverse print and visual media organizations, NGOs, members of Team Anna (on three occasions spread over approximately 8 hours), religious organizations, representative institutions from small and medium size towns across India, CBI, CVC, eminent writers, think tanks and so on and so forth. In almost all cases the witnesses were accompanied by several associates and the Committee, therefore, in all, had the presence of 140 witnesses
8. In a nut shell, therefore, this Committee could become legally operational only w.e.f. September 23, 2011 and has completed hearing witnesses on 4th November, 2011. It had its total deliberations including Report adoption spread over 15 meetings, together aggregating 37 hours within the space of ten weeks commencing from September 23, 2011 and ending December 2011.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons, appended to the Bill reads as under:-
"The need to have a strong and effective institution of Lokpal has been felt for quite
sometime. The Administrative Reforms Commission , in its interim report on the
'problems of Redressal of Citizens' Grievances submitted in 1966, inter alia
recommended the setting up of an institution of Lokpal at the Centre in this regard.
To give effect to this recommendation of the Administrative Reforms Commission,
eight Bills on Lokpal were introduced in the Lok Sabha in the past, namely in the
years 1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998 and 2001. However, these Bills had
lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the respective Lok Sabha except in the case
of 1985 Bill which was withdrawn after its introduction.
A need has been felt to constitute a mechanism for dealing with complaints on
corruption against public functionaries in high places. In this regard, the Central
Government constituted a Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) on 8th April, 2011 to draft
a Lokpal Bill.
Based on the deliberation and having regard to the need for establishing a strong and
effective institution of Lokpal to inqjuire into allegation of corruption against certain
public functionaries, it has been decided to enact a stand alone legislation, inter alia
to provide for the following matters, namely :-
(i) to establish an Institution of Lokpal with a Chairperson and eight Members of
which fifty per cent shall be Judicial Members;
(ii) to set up Lokpal's own Investigation Wing and Prosecution Wing with such
officers and employees a felt by it to be necessary;
(iii) the category of public functionaries against whom allegation of corruption are
to be inquired into, namely :-
a. a Prime Minister, after he has demitted office;
b. a Minister of the Union;
c. a Member of Parliament;
d. any Group "A" officer or equivalent;
e. a Chairperson or member or officer equivalent to Group "A" in any
body, Board, corporation, authority, company, society, trust,
autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or
partly financed or controlled by the Central Government;
f. any director, manager, secretary or other officer of a society or
association of persons or trust wholly or partly financed or aided by the
Government or in receipt of any donations from the public and whose
annual income exceeds such amount as the Central Government may be
notification specify but the organizations created for religious purposes
and receiving public donations would be outside the purview of the
(iv) To provide for a mechanism to ensure that no sanction or approval under section 197
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or section 19 of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988, will be required in cases here prosecution is proposed by the
(v) to confer on the Lokpal the power of search and seizures and certain powers of a
(vi) To empower the Lokpal or any investigation officer authorized by it in this behalf to attach property which, prima facie, has been acquired by corrupt means;
(vii) To lay down a period of limitation of seven years from the date of commission of alleged offence for filing the complaints before the Lokpal;
(viii) To confer powers of police upon Lokpal which the police officers have in connection with investigation;
(ix) To charge the expenses of Lokpal on the Consolidated Fund of India;
(ix) to utilize services of officers of Central or State Government with the consent of the State Government for the purpose of conducting inquiry;
(x) To recommend transfer or suspension of public servants connected with allegation of corruption;
(xi) To constitute sufficient number of Special Courts as may be recommended by the Lokpal to hear and decide the cases arising out of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 under the proposed enactment;
(xiii) To make every public servant to declare his assets and liabilities, and in case of
default or furnishing misleading information, to presume that the public servant has
acquired such assets by corrupt means;
(xiv) To provide for prosecution of persons who make false or frivolous or vexatious
The notes on clauses explain in detail the various provisions contained in the Bill.
The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.”
In slight deviation from the normal procedure followed by Standing Committees for
examination of Bills, there was a detailed discussion on the statement of the Minister
of Finance on the issues relating to the setting up of the Lokpal in both the Houses of
Parliament on the 27th August, 2011. These proceedings were also transmitted to the
Committee. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat communication dated the 30th
August, 2011 in this behalf addressed to the Chairman, Standing Committee, reads as follows:-
“I am directed to inform you that the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, has desired that the
proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha dated the 27th
August, 2011 pertaining to the discussion on the statement made by the Minister of Finance on issues relating to setting up of Lok Pal may be transmitted to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law & Justice for its perusal while formulating its recommendations on the Lok Pal Bill,. 2011.
Accordingly, a copy each of the relevant proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and Lok
Sabha is enclosed for your kind perusal.”
The discussion in the two Houses of Parliament was in the backdrop of divergent
views in the Joint Drafting Committee constituted by the Government for preparing a
draft on the Lokpal Bill. The Committee consisted of five nominees of the Civil
Society (led by Shri Anna Hazare) and five nominees of the Government. Initiating
discussion in both the Houses, Hon’ble Finance Minister gave a background of the
matter leading to holding of discussion in Parliament on the setting up of Lokpal. He
enumerated the following six major areas of divergent views in the Joint Drafting
i. Should one single Act be provided for both the Lokpal in the Centre and Lokayukt
in the State? Would the State Governments be willing to accept a draft provision
for the Lokayukt on the same lines as that of the Lokpal?
ii. Should the Prime Minister be brought within the purview of the Lokpal? If the
answer is in affirmative, should there be a qualified inclusion?
iii. Should Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts be brought within the
purview of the Lokpal?
iv. Should the conduct of Members of Parliament inside Parliament, their right to
speak and right to vote in the House, be brought within the purview of the
Lokpal? Presently such actions of the Members of Parliament are covered by
article 105(2) of the Constitution?
v. Whether Articles 311 and 320 (3) (c) of the Constitution notwithstanding
members of a civil service of the Union or an All India Service or a Civil Service
of a State or a person holding a civil post under the Union or State, be subject to
enquiry and disciplinary action including dismissal and removal by the Lokpal
and Lokayukt, as the case may be?
vi. What should be the definition of the Lokpal, and should it itself exercise quasi-judicial powers also or delegate these powers to its subordinate officers?"
1.6. Apart from other issues, the following three issues were discussed in both the
i. Whether the jurisdiction of the Lokpal should cover all employees of the Central
ii. Whether it will be applicable through the institution of the Lokayukt in all States?
iii. Whether the Lokpal should have the power to punish all those who violate the
'grievance redressal mechanism' to be put in place?
1.7. During the discussion in Parliament, Members demonstrated serious commitment to evolve an effective mechanism to deal with the menace of corruption. The discussion covered several related issues as well, besides the three specific issues referred to above. Members discussed the need to bring all classes of bureaucracy within the fold of the Lokpal while expressing apprehensions about the overburdening of the institution. Similarly, Members were concerned about preservation of the federal spirit of our Constitution. The issue of bringing the grievance redressal mechanism under the Lokpal or having a separate law for this purpose was also discussed.
(A gist of the debate in both the Houses is placed as Annexure B).
1.8. In his reply to the debate, the Minister of Finance concluded in both the Houses in
“ This House agrees in principle on the Citizens Charter, Lower Bureaucracy to be
brought under Lokpal through appropriate mechanism and Establishment of Lok
Ayuktas in the States. I will request you to transmit the proceedings to the
Department-related Standing Committee for its perusal while formulating its
recommendations for a Lokpal Bill.”
1.9. The deliberations in the two Houses of Parliament gave guidance to the Committee in the accomplishment of the task assigned to it. The Committee, however, also had before it vast inputs on the subject from various sources. Recommending an appropriate legislative architecture for the purpose was a complex task for the Committee as it was to propose a solution which harmonized and married the concerns of constitutional validity, operational efficacy and consensus amongst the diverse views reflected in the Committee's deliberations. The Members of the
Committee, however, have put in their best possible efforts to deal with the essence of
the opinions expressed by the House collectively. The diverse pool of knowledge of
the Members, opinions of eminent experts and the suggestions received from a
comprehensive and diverse cross-section of society helped the Committee to
formulate solutions taking into account the aspects of functional feasibility and
constitutional validity in addition to political consensus.
1.10. In order to have a broader view on the Bill, the Committee decided to invite
views/suggestions on the issue from desirous individuals/organizations. Accordingly,
a press release was issued inviting views/suggestions. In response to the press release
published in major English and Hindi dailies all over India on the 20th August, 2011,
a number of representations/ memoranda were received. The Committee received
approximately 10,000 responses from different sections of society.
1.11. The Committee also forwarded 216 select memoranda from out of the ones received from the individuals/organizations to the Department of Personnel and Training for their comments thereon. A list of such memoranda along with the gist of views/ suggestions contained therein and the comments
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Friday, December 09, 2011
Tags – Lokpal Bill Standing Committee Final Report