The son-in-law of one of world’s most powerful women, and unfortunately India’s chief ruler of the day, popularly posted one of his misplaced humorous quotes on Facebook calling hapless Indian citizens “mango people of a banana republic”. He has since distanced himself from such stance in public but the glaring reality of it and all other corruption cases that came out thereafter snapped nerves that were already worn out.
It took a popular crusader and social activist like Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death resolution on Jantar Mantar grounds to send the wake-up call to Indians. His demand – pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, his threat – I’ll die of hunger as the whole nation watches. Delhi had witnessed too many high-profile scams by then and the frustrated nation stood for Anna. He was the prime topic on social media, news channels and in people’s conversation at homes, offices and colleges.
So what is this Jan Lokpal Bill that even celebrities are supporting? It is basically an instrument through which an ombudsman will be chosen as people’s representative to ensure that all corrupt politicians toe the line and account for their actions. No wonder the political class took a break from the slug-fest to form a united front against public scheming.
However, the ruling class is compelled to take Anna’s fasting seriously as their vote bank hangs on his next meal. The idea of a Jan Lokpal Bill is not a new one; a weaker version had been introduced eight times between 1971 and 2005, but never passed in the Rajya Sabha. This time, however, the Bill sees the light of day as the Rajya Sabha has passed it finally.
What will the Lokpal Bill do for us, the common folk? A few significant features of the Lokpal Bill –
- The Lokpal will be set in the Centre while Lokayukta at state-level
- This will be an independent body and will constitute certain judicial powers to grant justice
- Bureaucrats and politicians will not be able to influence its investigations and anyone who has been held guilty will face trial and the investigations will be completed within one year
- The person held guilty will be sent to jail within two years to ensure quick justice
- The Lokpal selection committee will have Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, opposition leader in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and a fifth member as “eminent jurist” who will be nominated by the President on basis of recommendations from the first four members
As people stand united in the fight against corruption, the political class is losing its propensity to evade the Lokpal Bill and it is expected to be drafted and passed by Independence Day, and hopefully brings freedom in its true sense to this country.