CHURUMURI POLL: Should PM be under Lok Pal?

The hurried efforts to draft a Lok Pal bill, propelled by Anna Hazare‘s fast unto death in the wake of a slew of corruption scandals, has run into seriously rough weather, with civil society members at odds with representatives of the government on a very fundamental issue: just who should (or shouldn’t) come under the Lok Pal’s purview?

Should members of the higher judiciary be left out? Can members of Parliament be excused? Officers below the level of joint secretary? Should various anti-corruption bodies like CBI and CVC all come under the Lok Pal? Will such a Lok Pal with overwhelming powers over the executive, judiciary and legislature be such a good thing for a democracy? Etc.

The key emblematic issue, however, concerns the prime minister of India: should he or she come under the purview of the Lok Pal?

Home minister P. Chidambaram says the civil society members are themselves not in agreement on some of these issues. His HRD counterpart Kapil Sibal says whatever is done has to be in consonance with the Constitution of India. And Chidambaram has now written to the State governments and the MPs on the contentious issues.

All of which is shorthand for just one thing: there is desperate backpedalling going on after the attempt to stymie the panel through insinuations failed. After all, if the government’s own draft (according to the RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal) included the prime minister in it, why is the PM now being sought to be kept out of the Lok Pal’s loop?

Question: Should the PM come under the Lok Pal’s ambit? Or will his august office be sullied by frivolous charges, as is the fear?

Also read: Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom

Why I’m slightly disappointed with Anna Hazare

CHURUMURI POLL: Do we like ‘single’ icons?

‘Media only bothers about the elite, eductated, middle-class’

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28 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Should PM be under Lok Pal?”

  1. the colonel Says:

    gentlemen i am losing my capacity to write.

    the answer without any doubt is : YES the pm should be within the ambit.

    one some other day may be in the far future i’ll share with you the cesspool

    we are in.

  2. Gaby Says:

    It should indeed be everyone subject to the Act- from the PM downwards. I wonder what the legal stanc eis on including the President- sine the act is in the anme of the President- or is it not- just my girlie brains asking.

  3. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    My answer is firm NO. The prime minister cannot be under the Lok Pal or any other Pal.

    The prime minister should be under the rule of law. The law that applies to the common citizens should apply to the prime minister as well. That’s it. All we need is economic reform and judicial reform, so that justice can be delivered faster and in a more simple manner.

    Why do we want to create another level of bureaucracy? If we have the Lok Pal, then the question immediately arises, who will be above the Lok Pal. Perhaps at some point of time we will have a hunger strike for a Super-duper Lok Pal.

    What makes us so sure that our super rich politicians and industrialists will not be able circumvent and compromise the Lok Pal?

    The need of the hour is social reform. Corruption is NOT a Political Problem or Legislative Problem.

    Corruption is a SOCIAL Problem. It can ONLY be solved through social campaigns. If we think that we can solve the problem of corruption by simply legislating a new set of bureaucrats, then we are living in a fool’s paradise.

    It is time Indians woke up to the real world. It is time we recognized our personal failures instead of whining against politicians constantly. If there is corruption, then the entire class of educated Indians is responsible for that.

    Only brave people deserve to live in a corruption free country, let us accept that we are not brave people. We are big cowards and that is why we are always on look out for saviors in the form of saints, civil society and Lok Pal.

  4. mysore peshva Says:

    i believe that the proposed jan lok pal should exclusively watch the head of the serpent:

    1. the prime minister’s office
    2. members of the union cabinet
    3. honorable members of parliament
    4. occupants of raj bhavans
    5. members of state cabinets
    6. honorable members of state legislatures
    7. justices of the supreme court of india
    8. judges of the high courts

    in addition to a narrow focus, the jan lok pal should also have suo motu powers to investigate individuals with probable cause in the absence of a formal complaint.

    existing statutory anti-corruption bodies such as the central vigilance commission are adequate to watch all the other offices.

    without a proper delegation of jurisdiction, i am afraid that we will not be able to predict which agency would monitor which individual… leading to severe distractions in the form of turf wars, oneupmanship and inefficiency among the agencies.

  5. harkol Says:

    The only protection PM should have is against the executive actions he takes.

    But, if there was a financial motive to any actions (good or bad), the portion of motivation should be investigated and prosecuted. For example, offer of a bribe by PM to an MP to vote in his favor.

    While the vote itself is beyond the purview of any double check, if there is evidence to prove the motive behind the vote was personal pelf, then it has to be considered criminality and prosecuted.

  6. Murthy Says:

    In Italy Sylvio Berlusconi had similar rendezvous when his extravagant parties and party gals were questioned.

    PM ,his wife , his party , his judiciary , his clothes and underneath his clothes everything needs to be under jurisdiction.

    Looks like we need to bring in shakira to affirm this or can we commodify Katrina Kaif to perform one more number. North Indians do love nanga naach though.

  7. Doddi ionBuddi Says:

    I think the PM should be under a stone slab!

  8. Bhupathi Ranga Says:

    The implementation of the Lokpal Bill should be mandatory on all, except the Prime Minister of India. The Head of State in a democratic, federal system should be able to take quick and critical decisions on issues that are sensitive and may compromise the security of the nation. These may need to be outside of the public domain. The fear of potential scrutiny of such decisions years after they are made will inhibit fearless decision making and would be unfair to any PM. We need to address the larger issue and have a system that is thorough, impeccable, and flawless so that only individuals with the best credentials become the PM. Despite this, if a corrupt individual did anyway become the PM, because everyone else will be covered under the Bill, there will be no one to execute rogue orders because they will know that while the PM may go scot-free on scrutiny, their heads will be on the block. So a natural system of checks and balances would prevail.

  9. nilesh Says:

    How dare they.

    bring

    THE RIGHT TO CORRUPTION BILL

  10. Kamal Gopinath Says:

    Yes, but even while ensuring that he is not a victim of political witch hunting by power mongers whose main aim is to discredit based on half truths.

  11. Angry Young Man Says:

    The Prime Minister should be under the watch of the LokPal, with appropriate exceptions (national security issues etc).

    But no prime minister should be able to get away with acts of impropriety (allocating petrol bunks to one’s kith and kin, accepting bribes etc). That would help to keep Deve Goonda types in check.

  12. bheemaraj dl Says:

    Yes

  13. Gaby Says:

    I find Objectivist mantra’s response the most reasonable and pragmatic.

  14. Jagadish Says:

    Lokpal is lipstick on the pig, a bandaid to plug leaks in a huge dam. The very fact that we need a Jan Lokpal bill to protect us from our dear leaders is a symptom of a diseased political system.

    I don’t care if the PM or his Italian puppet-master madam are under Lokpal, because frankly it will make no difference. The judiciary was created for this very purpose, to deliver justice to citizens in an impartial and fair way, now we need a Jan Lokpal to watch over even those fellows. How are you going to ensure the impartiality of the Jan Lokpal itself? How do you ensure they are not corrupted like the judiciary? Create another meta – Jan Lokpal to watch this Jan Lokpal? Where does it end?

    Lokayukta has been around here in Karnataka for decades. Even if they catch some IPS officer or big minister red-handed, nothing ever happens to the criminal. Lokpal will be diluted to the same status because the very criminals targeted by Lokpal are running this country. As I keep saying, this is the reason our well-intentioned UID project is never going to succeed.

    My take is the Jan Lokpal will be toothless just as Lokayukta cannot fast-track prosecution or any action against the criminals.

    What we need is 20 years of military rule, all those found corrupt should be executed on the spot. Only then will the A.Rajas, the Reddys, the Deve Gowdas and the like start behaving themselves.

  15. twistleton Says:

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    Can’t we think of alternative consumption patterns?

    Management students can take up the challenge: how better to distribute resources and services?

    One suggestion is we start with decentralisation and de-homegenisation of consumption, so that problems arising out of skewed consumption are not magnified downstream.

  16. the colonel Says:

    Jagadish,

    “What we need is 20 years of military rule”

    NO WAY ARE WE DIPPING INTO THE CESSPOOL

  17. BabaS Says:

    Verma’s post is twisted just like this blog. THIS PLACE IS A JUNGLE WITH NO DEMOCRACY, LAW AND ORDER.

  18. chanakya Says:

    The great great Jawaharlal Nehru and his grandson Rajiv Gandhi set good examples for corrupt prime ministers. Why the hell prime ministers should be left out from the bill? why should they worry if not corrupt? shame on Congress which is trying best to thrash the lokpal bill…..

  19. Faldo Says:

    We should be first looking at ways to minimize corruption in the system by enabling access to resources and improving living conditions. Corruption is directly linked to GDP per person. It is no coincidence that relatively well off countries have a lower occurrence of corruption in public life. It is all well for us to say that corruption is a moral or social issue but one can’t preach morals to people with empty stomachs. Bread and butter would always triumph. Once people have better living conditions, they would be more acceptable to social or political messages.
    While it is good that eminent people have decided to take on corruption in public life, the focus should be on plugging loopholes and ways to implement the rule of law rather than worry too much about individuals. The office of the Lok Pal itself should be manned by multiple individuals to offset chances of one person becoming a vigilante or being influenced by political masters.

  20. YNI Anand Says:

    All I know about this gentleman called Kapil Sibal is that he is a very slimy character changing statements as per the need of the hour. He was doing a reasonably good job as the HRD minister and he should have stuck to his job instead of poking his nose everywhere else.

    We know the Congress party, the bureaucrats and all the politicians irrespective of their political affiliations. Name one fellow who would like get his nose cut voluntarily by someone else. All these fellows are just buying time with the hope that the people will forget everything in due course of time. Congress’ luck is good in that, the elections are still more than a thousand days away!!

  21. M K Vidyaranya Says:

    The principle, an ancient one, is this: “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.” In the normal course of affairs, a man is entitled to a presumption of innocence; if a politician commits a criminal act, he does not lose that right. But what ought to be plain is that if extensive evidence of wrongdoing surfaces, the politician should resign immediately. To hang on, insisting on the presumption of innocence, can only damage the government.
    Therefore , not only the Prime Minister, but also the President should be brought under scruitiny if there are any charges with substantial evidence against him.
    Democracy should treat every one in the same yardstick.

  22. Chombuka Says:

    I pity mr Manmohan Singh.Currently he is under Sonia Gandhi!!Now he must be saddened by the fact that he will be under the Lok pal too..

  23. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    The debate over fighting corruption has been hijacked by a small elite, with a big agenda. That is why the entire focus is on the very big corruption that few ministers like A Raja and Kalmadi have indulged in.

    What about corruption by NGOs! by petty officials! by media people! by people running educational institutes. By doctors who prescribe false treatments in order to jack up their bills!

    Recently, I had a bad experience, where a small official in a government run utility demanded 300 rupee bribe. What alternative does the common man has? If you pick up a fight, these small guys can mess up your life in many different ways.

    It is really FRUSTRATING, DEGRADING, and DEHUMANISING to be forced to pay bribes of 300 rupees to such SWINES. But as long as you are an unfortunate citizen of India, you have to pay up. No alternative at all.

    The need of the hour is to sack these government employees. Let them find jobs in the private sector. There is too much of red tape and bureaucracy and that is why we have corruption.

    The elitist Civil Society and the billionaire yoga gurus are not interested in helping the common man. All they want is a share of political power. That is their sole aim. If they were really interested in fighting corruption, they would have clamoured for reform.

  24. Raghav Says:

    The only people who need to be investigated under Jan Lokpal are those bigshot politicians, netas and babus with rowdy connections and crores of black money and unknown dollars in Swiss banks. First person who should be investigated is Italian mafiosi Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul. Then the CM’s and big ministers in each of our states, starting with the Yeddys and Reddys.

    Jan Lokpal should be empowered to shoot these people on sight.

  25. Gaampa Says:

    No No no. nonononono

  26. mindry Says:

    Our take on civil society, LokPal.
    http://mindry.in/blog/?p=2251
    (How LokPal can protect the data on your hard disk)

  27. Sumakani Says:

    All this anti-corruption sloagan by some whistle blowers(Blackmailers?) and some media(Who are corrupt to the core) is just non-sense. What is the guarantee that Lok-Pal will not compromise? Any body who is sitting in the chair of power or who is going to sit there is the product of this society. This aspect has to be kept in mind. One thing we forget is that when media (With a hidder agenda) attacks charges on any person in power, the basic right of the accused. Now saddest thing is the courts alos forgetting this. A person charged with terrorist act can get a bail within no time whereas a politician who is charged with suspected instance of bribery will not getting a bail. Are the courts are fair in this? or they are also afraid of media brickbats? Then only thing is there should be a check on the media particularly telemedia. The necessity of the hour is not lok-pal but a media ombudsman like in all developed countries where media behaves more responsibly and verify the facts before charging anybody and if found wrong they cannot get away with it. But whether the page-3 personalities who are running behind Anna will show the courage to come openly against such irresponsible media? I doubt. There cannot any such steps by this whistle blowers because everyone in hand in glove. It is such a pathetic situation where we are ready to believe in some tom-dick-harry instead of our own prime-minister or The President. Atleast we have the powers to bring them down but how will u take such steps in case of corporate honchos who are behind this present anti-corruption agenda?

  28. Medzee Indiranagar Says:

    My answer is firm NO. The prime minister cannot be under the Lok Pal or any other Pal.
    Jan Lokpal should be empowered to shoot these people on sight.

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