Anti-Corruption Movement In India
25 Apr 2021
In 2010, the government drafted a national law called the Jan Lokpal Bill that would establish a national citizen’s ombudsman to investigate corruption. However, certain people proclaimed the legislation to be weak and believed that it did not give the ombudsman enough powers to make it effective. Activists wanted the ombudsman to be able to investigate corruption at all levels. A hunger strike was initiated by Anna Hazare, a 74-year-old in protest of the legislation and in demand of stronger legislation. The movement slowly gained momentum and collected a sizable following. It was Hazare’s unexpected arrest that thrust him into the limelight, sparking candle-lit marches across the country and swelling the ranks of his movement, Indian Against Corruption (IAC). Hazare’s fast lasted 13 days. He halted it after the parliament passed a resolution agreeing in principle to several key demands, including that the Lokpal be allowed to investigate top officials and that an anti-corruption unit is established in every Indian state.
Thus, the Lokpal Bill, 2011, introduced in the Lok Sabha, was withdrawn and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 was introduced.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States. They perform the function of an "ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters. Jurisdiction of Lokpal includes Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C, and D officers and officials of Central Government. The legislation also obligates public servants to furnish information annually in relation to their and their families' assets.
The following bodies apart from Lokpal and Lokayukta form part of the Indian anti-corruption regime:-
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG):- An office responsible for auditing all income and expenses of the central and state governments, all bodies substantially financed by the government, and all government companies and corporations. Although the CAG has no investigative or prosecutorial powers, it acts as a watchdog against corruption.
Central Vigilance Commission:- Established under Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, it is the primary agency to enquire into offenses alleged to have been committed under the prevention of corruption act.