Below is a quick summary of the major differences between the drafts of Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, and the government’s version of the Lokpal Bill. The summary will also make one quickly realize that

  • The Government’s Lokpal version gives less power to Lokpal, but at the same time gives it more immunity from any action against the institution itself.
  • The Jan Lokpal version gives more power to Lokpal but less immunity if its own actions are found unaccountable.

Corruption and Jan Lokpal Bill - Sand Sculpture by Tarani Masro from Andhra

Accountability of the Lokpal

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Any Citizen can go and complaint to Supreme Court to remove a Lokpal if the Lokpal is not found to be accountable in his/her actions.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Only Government has the power to remove a Lokpal.

So according to government’s draft, if government appoints a corrupt person as the Lokpal, then people have no way of seeking the removal of such a Lokpal. But in case of Jan Lokpal, I or you can go to the court and demand that the Lokpal be removed if we are able to provide justification for that removal.

Corruption allegations against Lokpal Members

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Complaints of corruption against Lokpal members will be heard by an independent authority.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal itself will hear complaints of corruption against its members!

Which is more accountable? Lokpal hearing complaints against its own members? Or an independent authority acting on these complaints?

Probe corruption allegations against MPs in Parliament

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will have the power to probe into allegations of corruption by Members in Parliament like MPs taking bribe to vote! (Remember the Cash for Votes Scandal? )
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal will not have any right to probe into allegations of corruption by MPs in the Parliament!

Complaints against Government Officers, Public Servants

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal can act on complaints against ANY government officer.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal can act on complaints against only “Group A”  level government officers.

There are around 80 lakh state government officials and 40 lakh central government officials in the country. Of which only 65000 are Group A level officers. So according to government’s draft Lokpal or no Lokpal it makes no difference to over 99.995% of the government officers! The fact is that it is these officers below Group A level who actually cause problems to the common man. If common man cannot complain to Lokpal about problems like corruption in the Public Distribution System, corruption in his local RTO, corruption in rural employment scemes etc, then what is the use of such a Lokpal?

Action against government officers

  • Jan Lokpal:
    If a government officer delays the work of a citizen beyond scheduled time frame then he will be deemed corrupt by Lokpal and penalized for that.
  • Government Lokpal:
    There is no penalization of government officers who do not do their duties.

NOTE: The Government had earlier agreed to the proposal in Jan Lokpal on this issue. But this again is missing from the government’s Lokpal draft!

Corruption allegation against Judiciary

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will have the authority to investigate allegations of corruption against judges.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal will NOT have the authority to investigate allegations of corruption against judges.

NOTE: Government wants judiciary to be investigated based on a separate Judicial Accountability Bill (JAB). Anna’s team is fine with that provided the the flaws in giving permission for investigations against judges are removed. In the JAB, permission to investigate allegations against a judge will be given by a three member judge team, two of whom will be judges from the same court, and even the third judge will be a retired chief justice of the same court!

Corruption allegations against Prime Minister

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will have the authority to investigate allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal will NOT have the authority to investigate allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister.

NOTE: Government wants CBI to investigate any allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister. But the fact is that the CBI comes directly under the Prime Minister. So, unlike Lokpal, CBI is not an independent organization in this scenario.

Anti Corruption Branch of CBI

  • Jan Lokpal:
    The Anti Corruption Branch of CBI will be merged with Lokpal to give it more independence.
  • Government Lokpal:
    The Anti Corruption Branch of CBI will continue to remain with CBI, which means direct government control over it, because CBI is controlled by government.

NOTE: Government has now even removed CBI from RTI! So nobody knows what is going on within CBI.

Dismissal of Corrupt Public Servant

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will have the power to dismiss a corrupt public servant from job.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal will have no power to dismiss a corrupt public servant. The concerned minister will decide whether to dismiss a corrupt public servant or not.

NOTE: What if the minister is also a beneficiary of this corruption? Will he in such a case dismiss the corrupt public servant?

Protection against false complaints

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will impose fine to those who make false complaints or ill motivated complaints. Lokpal will decide whether a complaint is false or not.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal will send those who make false complaints to jail for a period of two to five years! The accused can also go to court against the complainant, and in this case, the legal expenses of the accused will be borne by the government, where as the complainant has to pay for the legal expenses from his own pocket.

This one clause in the government’s draft is enough to ensure that nobody will dare to go and complain to Lokpal. If the corrupt who are also generally rich, are able to mute all evidences against them, then the person who complained will have to go to jail, do trips to courts, bear his legal expenses and what not.

NOTE: While the minimum imprisonment for a false complaint is two years in the government’s draft, the minimum imprisonment for those found guilty of corruption is only 6 months! The government’s draft clearly targets the complainant than the accused.

Selection of the Lokpal Members

  • Jan Lokpal:
    An independent search committee which consists of retired constitutional authorities (like judges, eminent IAS officers etc) will prepare the first list of eligible candidates. Then an independent selection committee comprising of two politicians, four judges and two retired constitutional authorities will do the selection. So there is no scope for government interference in the selection process of Lokpal members here.
  • Government Lokpal:
    A Panel of 10 members, 6 of whom are politicians, 5 of whom are from the ruling alliance/ruling party will select the Lokpal members. Even the search committee which searches for eligible lokpal members will be selected by the above mentioned selection committee. 5 members from ruling alliance and totally 6 politicians in a group of 10 will ensure that government will be able to appoint its own people to Lokpal!

NOTE: The Government had earlier agreed to the selection committee proposed by Jan Lokpal. But this proposal is not there in the government’s draft now! Instead we have what is described above in Government’s version.

Permission to Tap Phones of those alleged of Corruption

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will give permission to tap phones of people suspected to be involved in corruption.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Home Secretary will give permission to tap phones of people suspected to be involved in corruption!

What if the permission sought is against those who control the Home Secretariat? Is it fair to expect that the Home Secretary will give permission in such cases? What if Home Secretary himself is under the Lokpal scanner?

Corruption by Business Entities

  • Jan Lokpal:
    If Lokpal finds that business entities are involved in corruption, then Lokpal will have the right to ban such companies from taking part in future government contracts and to black list them.
  • Government Lokpal:
    No power to Lokpal to black list any business entity found guilty of corruption.

Fast Track Hearing of Corruption Cases

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal can setup special benches in High Courts to speed up hearing of corruption cases.
  • Government Lokpal:
    Lokpal has no power to setup special benches like this. Which means slow hearing of corruption cases.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Protection to complainants, whistle blowers

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Lokpal will provide adequate protection and security to complainants and whistle blowers.
  • Government Lokpal:
    No mention about any protection to those who complaint about cases of corruption.

Establishment of Lokayuktas

  • Jan Lokpal:
    There will also be Lokayuktas established at each state level with powers similar to Lokpal. These Lokayuktas will probe into corruption at a state government level against ministers, MLAs and state government officials.
  • Government Lokpal:
    No establishment of any Lokayuktas through Lokpal Bill.
If people have any issue of corruption at a state government level, then according to the Government’s Lokpal bill – forget it.

Method of Enquiry

  • Jan Lokpal:
    Enquiry will be done just like in any other criminal case.  After preliminary enquiry FIR will be registered, and after that investigations will be done, and then the trial will be held in the courts.
  • Government Lokpal:
    After preliminary enquiry, before filing FIR all evidence collected so far should be presented to the accused, and he should be asked why an FIR should not be filed against him based on that evidence!  After investigations, before filing a case against the accused, again all evidences collected so far should be presented to the accused, and he should be asked again as to why a case should not be filed against him!

Now what on earth is this business of showing the evidence to the accused and asking him? Evidences are shown to the courts not to the accused. Does the government want to give an opportunity to the accused to wipe out all evidences? This would also reveal to the accused as to who complained against him, endangering the lives of the complainants and whistle blowers.


In summary, looking at the government’s version of the Lokpal bill, doesn’t it look like that the government wants to simply pass a bill for the namesake of it and wash its hands off from the entire issue? After 45 years of waiting, the government simply wants to create an illusion that it has passed an anti-corruption law. Do we really need another dummy institution at the tax payer’s expense?

Just look at the government’s draft once again and you will wonder, who actually comes UNDER the jurisdiction of Lokpal according to the government’s lokpal draft. No Prime Minister, no MPs, no judiciary, no state level Lokayuktas, no government officers other than “Group A” officers….

Arving Kejriwal has rightly called the government’s draft – A Jokepal Bill. It not only has loopholes in it, it is full of potholes. Now you decide whether we want the government’s version of Lokpal or the Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal to become a law in this country.

Updated (on 22 August 2011) 

Rajinder Sachar, former chief justice of the Delhi high court has said that the Lokpal Bill proposed by the Government of India is

shamefully toothless and meant just to give a false reassurance to the people that the government is serious in its fight against corruption.


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