Anti Corruption Campaign
- What are we campaigning for?
- Why are we campaigning
- Background of the campaign
- Key features of the Jan Lokpal
- Beyond Lockpal talking deep corruption
NAPM is demanding the prompt enactment of a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. In this we fully and actively support the Jan Lokpal Campaign headed by India Against Corruption.
NAPM recognises that a strong Act properly implemented will not bring an end to the endemic and crippling corruption in India. However, it is an minimum step against this corruption and an useful instrument for citizens and activist to tackle corruption. We urge our members and supporters to join this call and challenge the corrupt and defensive governments at the Centre and the states.
Corruption is endemic in India’s governance system – at every level. It is one of the greatest barriers set against the development of a just and truly democratic society, while everyone in India is touched by this blight it the poor and the powerless that are most severely affected. The current institutional framework for tackling corruption is inadequate – with the main problems being that of the independence power and transparency of corruption investigation – a strong Jan Lokpal Bill would put in place a strong institutional instrument for the prosecution of corruption with a remit over the bureaucratic and political system at the federal and state level.
NAPM along with many of its struggling comrades and supporters has been at the forefront of the struggle against corruption, exposing the fraud in rationing in Assam, disbursal of rural employment wages and even in getting a copy of the electoral rolls. There has also been corruption in real estate, examples being the Adarsh Housing Society case and Lavasa, rehabilitation in Narmada Valley, and irregularities in Lavasa among many others. We understand that the Lokpal act like the RTI Act will be another tool in ours and many others campaign against corruption. It is for this reason that NAPM has been fully supportive of The Jan Lokpal Campaign since its inception.
This ill fated Lokpal Bill was first tabled in parliament over 40 years ago in 1968 and has since then been introduced in the parliament a total of eight times since 1968. It has been defeated and deferred every time by the power of vested interests in the political and state system. In early 2010 another version of this Lokpal Bill drafted by the government. It was seen to be a farse. At this stage it became clear to various sections of civil society that the political class could not be left up to its own devices to draft an effective Lokpal Bill so it was up to civil society to apply pressure on the state to enact a Jan Lokpal bill. Indian social activists, under the banner of India Against Corruption then came together to draft this draft Jan Lokpal. This was the genesis of the Jan Lokpal Campaign.
NAPM has supported the India Against Corruption campaign from the beginning and has along with other organisations is held relay fast, human chains, public meetings and other programmes, in Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Narmada Valley, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Mysore, Mou, Balia, Allahabad, Muzzafarnagar and other places
On 5th April 2011, Anna Hazare announced that he would go on a indefinite fast from for the passing of the Jan Lokpall drafted by the civil society, the fast ended on the 9th of April when the government conceded to most of the demands and agreed to set up a Joint Drafting Committee. However, this committee failed to agree on the terms of the bill and the government introduced its own draft in August of 2011.
The government submitted its own draft bill which made its way through the Lok Sabha in the winter session. Currently a watered down version of the Lokpal Bill is tabled for consideration in the Rajya Sabha for the summer session of parliament.
There is already a basic institutional framework for tackling corruption in India. However, it does not take into considers the realities of the Indian governance system or best practice for corruption investigation. Its main weaknesses are the system and its instruments such as (ACB, CVC,CBI ect) lack independence, power and transparency. Jan Lokpal will address these issues as well as issues of appropriate punishment for corruption officials and timely addressing of complaints. Link.
The Jan Lokpal Bill envisions the creation at national and state level independent body that would investigate corruption cases – the Lokpal and Lokayukta respectively. These bodies would investigate corruption offences and submit a charge sheet which would then be tried and prosecuted through trial courts and higher courts. This ‘corruption ombudsman’ should be, like the judiciary, independent from state or political influence. It should, unlike the judicial system, deal with cases in a prompt manner. The members of the Lokpal would be selected by non partisan actors and in a completely transparent and participatory way. Likewise the functioning of the Lokpal would be totally transparent. Link.
NAPMs understanding of corruption and out anti corruption campaign goes far beyond what has been framed in the Jal Lokpal Campaign. We are conscious that even if a strong Lokpal Bill is enacted and properly implemented is not a full and final solution the cancer of corruption that eats away at our country today, but, it should be viewed as part of an ongoing process that can be built upon by various groups using myriad democratic styles, strategies, issues and foci. Corruption had assumed many forms and a much wider effort was required to cleanse governance.
This Jan Lokpal bill does not deal with what we call ‘legalized corruption’ in the form of transfer of assets such as land from the poor to the rich in the name of development. .There is a new category of corruption which is legitimized corruption, when the law itself legitimizes misappropriation. We have to fight such corruption at ground level and not only through the Lokpal or Lokayukta. Take the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act. That cannot be detected as corruption or punished by any agency. This is political corruption. It is a form of legalized corruption which the Lokpal may not be able to uncover since by law it is permitted.
We also recognize and re-stress the reality that it is this large section of the Indian population; the gareeb, shoshit, peedit, shramik that faces the brunt of corruption most, day in and day out, in their battle for survival with dignity and we need to reach out to them. We can’t limit corruption only in monetary terms, but deal with it in terms of the systemic oppression, inequity and inhumanity perpetuated by political and non-political entities all. We are of the strong view that the battle against corruption is located within the wider struggles against corporatization, capitalism, communalism, casteism, patriarchy, criminality and consumerism which are challenges that any well-meaning, truly democratic public platform must address.