Right now, Anna Hazare, a 73-year-old Gandhian, sits fasting in the burning sun, and he will stay until death -- unless the government agrees to consider a powerful law that could rid Indian politics of the scourge of corruption.
This “Modern Mahatma” is taking the utmost act of courage and determination to push through a bill that would give an independent body the power to punish corruption -- even in the Prime Minister’s office. Across the country a movement has exploded, driving a media storm of pressure that’s engulfing Singh. But dirty politicians are desperately trying to water down or kill the law.
For the first time in forty three years, we have the chance to change the way politics is done. Let's join together and stand with Anna Hazare to tackle corruption and clean up Indian politics. We have no time to lose -- sign the petition to be delivered directly to Prime Minister Singh and reported to the media, and spread the word to everyone:
Hazare is championing a citizen-developed bill called “Jan” Lokpal that will create an independent body, selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, with enough power to investigate and punish all politicians. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence its investigations.
Since 1968, when this bill was first introduced, greedy politicians have thwarted its passing. Now the government is pushing for a watered down Lokpal with no hope of ending fraud, vice and dishonesty -- it gives politicians overriding power to decide who will be investigated, and is a complete sellout.
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Singh to endorse the "Jan" Lokpal. Members of the opposition party have begun to make the right noises in support of Anna Hazare. And even the National Advisory Council, a powerful advisory body to Sonia Gandhi have come out in favour of the bill. But corrupt politicians and vested interests are doing all they can to kill it.
Anna Hazare has set the example. But only a national citizens movement can ramp up the pressure to get Singh to endorse “Jan” Lokpal and save Hazare's life.
Corruption in politics has become a plague across our country, it is draining our resources and demoralizing our nation. This bill would go a long way to deterring those that steal and undermine the public good. India has a proud history of people power overcoming oppression -- today if we all stand with one voice we can fight this corruption that is poisoning our political system
Salient features of Jan Lokpal Bill
1. An institution called LOKPAL at the centre and LOKAYUKTA in each state will be set up
2. Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
3. Cases against corrupt people will not linger on for years anymore: Investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in next one year so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.
4. The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
5. How will it help a common citizen: If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
6. So, you could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering your case or any other work is not being done in prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month's time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal like ration being siphoned off, poor quality roads been constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off. Lokpal will have to complete its investigations in a year, trial will be over in next one year and the guilty will go to jail within two years.
7. But won't the government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That won't be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities and not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
8. What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? The entire functioning of Lokpal/ Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
9. What will happen to existing anti-corruption agencies? CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
10. It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.
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