Present Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament, urge residents

Even as the movement against corruption is gaining momentum in urban centres, with activists gearing up for a fast on April 5 demanding immediate passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill, villages in four districts of the State will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh supporting the Bill. Each village in Mysore, Bijapur, Hassan and Dharwad districts will send a petition signed by the residents to the Prime Minister through the tahsildar and the Deputy Commissioner, urging him to consider presenting the Jan Lokpal Bill, drafted by legal luminaries, in Parliament.

Activists say the Lokpal Bill 2010, drafted by the Union Government, is a “watered-down” version and lacks powers to effectively curb corruption in public life.

The passage of the Lokpal Bill has been put off for 42 years. Now, the Union Government is making preparations to pass it.

‘Legally unsound'

“Lokpal, as proposed by the Government, will not have any power to either initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from the public. Lokpal is proposed to be an advisory body. After an inquiry, it will forward its report to the competent authority. The Bill is legally unsound. Lokpal has not been given police powers. Therefore, it cannot register an FIR,” said R. Balasubramaniam, founder, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Mysore, who is part of the ‘India against corruption' movement.

In this context, the country's civil society had proposed the Jan Lokpal Bill which would have powers to initiate suo motu investigation and would not be an advisory body.

It would have the powers to initiate prosecution against any one after completion of investigation, Mr. Balasubramaniam said.

In order to bring pressure on the Government, support from rural India is being roped in as they suffer the most because of corruption.

Kinds of corruption

“In my opinion, there are two kinds of corruption — one resulting from helplessness and another due to convenience. The people in villages are falling into the system of corruption because of helplessness, while those in the cities are succumbing because of convenience,” Mr. Balasubramaniam explained.

‘Not urban-centric'

He argued that corruption could not be an urban phenomenon when over 60 per cent of people live in villages and the campaign should not be urban-centric.

  • ‘Lokpal Bill 2010, drafted by the Centre, is a watered-down version'
  • ‘Jan Lokpal Bill will have powers to initiate suo motu investigation'