Anti corruption crusader Anna Hazare's team has proposed changes in the existing laws to authorize the anti-graft ombudsman, lokpal, to initiate investigations on its own and file prosecution reports in appropriate trial courts.
The team of five civil society members on the joint drafting committee led by Hazare has submitted two documents to the government team headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue. These are likely to be discussed at the Saturday meeting.
The basic principles of the Jan lokpal bill and the statement of objectives and reasons for having such a law, both prepared by Hazare's team outline the need for sweeping powers to the proposed anti-graft ombudsman. It remains to be seen how the government will react to it.
The basic principles provide for empowering the lokpal to receive complaints of corruption. "Such complaints under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the Prime Minister, all ministers, all MPs of both houses of parliament, all bureaucrats, judges of the Supreme Court and high courts would be under the lokpal's jurisdiction."
The activists have further stated that the lokpal be authorised to "investigate these complaints and to file prosecution in appropriate trial courts for prosecution and punishment."
In support of their argument for an effective anti-graft mechanism, the activists said :"Lokpal shall not seek permission from any other agency for initiating investigation, enquiry or prosecution. Appropriate amendments would need to be made in Prevention of Corruption Act and Delhi Police Establishment Act for this purpose."
The proposal if accepted, could mark a major shift in the criminal jurisprudence, since the criminal law currently allows only the police to lodge criminal complaints, including in cases of corruption. Investigat-ing agencies like the CBI and others in states are handed over cases under special notifications from the government or following orders from courts.
Stressing on accountability, the activists have sought to make the institution of lokpal answerable to the Supreme Court. "The accountability... would be to the Supreme Court, which would have the authority to enquire into and order the removal of members of the lokpal," states the document.