Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 Must Be Strong And Effective

India is not at all serious about eradication of corruption. The recent agitation by civil society members regarding Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 shows the growing dissatisfaction among Indian masses regarding corruption existing on mass scale in India.

What is making the intention of Indian government more clear is the fact that India has refused to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption. India signed the convention in 2005 but Indian government refused to ratify the same. This is because India deliberately kept its anti corruption laws redundant and ineffective to fight against the mammoth level of corruption existing in India.

This is also giving rise to “Conflict of Laws” as Indian Laws are not in conformity with International Standards like United Nations Convention against Corruption, says Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and a Supreme Court lawyer. India is not part of “Public International Law” dealing with Corruption and by not Ratifying the UN Convention on Corruption, India has done more harm than good, opines Dalal.

The responsibility to ratify the UN Convention on corruption lies with the department of personnel and training (DoPT) that has kept the issue in deep freezer. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has repeatedly asked Indian government to ratify the UN Treaty on corruption, but Indian government has also not shown any interest to fight against the corruption.

In this background, formulation of Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 would assume significance. However, Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 is “not a panacea” for all sorts of Corruption related problems in India, suggests Praveen Dalal. Besides fighting Corruption, India must also focus upon Administrative, Legal and Judicial Reforms, suggests Dalal.

Even the Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 itself requires numerous “Improvements and Additions” suggests Dalal. If Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 has to be successful it must incorporate many more issues like Technology, Whistleblower Protection, Harmonisation between Judicial and Lokpal fields, Right to Information, Mandatory E-Governance Services, etc, suggests Dalal. The Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 must be Techno Legal to be most successful, suggests Dalal. In short, the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill 2011 must be Strong and Effective. By confining it to either the Governmental version or the version of Civil Activists, we are not going to achieve anything, suggests Dalal.

The proposed draft Jan Lokpal Act 2011 of India must be kept flexible to incorporate diverse views and suggestions. By confining it to two versions alone would not serve the purpose. There are many issues that have yet to be incorporated in the proposed law. I hope public inputs and experts suggestions would also be incorporated in the proposed law.