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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Deliver in time or face graft charges under Jan Lokpal: CM

htreporters, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 13, 2014
First Published: 22:20 IST(13/1/2014) | Last Updated: 11:29 IST(14/1/2014)

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Failure to deliver public services in the stipulated time will be treated as corruption, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday while discussing the Jan Lokpal Bill.

This means that if an officer sits on a file and does not clear it within the stipulated time, it will be deemed as an act of corruption, when the Jan Lokpal Bill comes into force in the Capital.

Kejriwal said while a system is already in place that fixes specific time frames for the delivery of government services, but residents continue to suffer due to lack of accountability.

"Repeated violations of the time limit set by the government for the delivery of a service would be deemed an act of corruption. We are including this in the draft of Jan Lokpal Bill. The fact that the officer is not clearing the file repeatedly despite it fulfilling all criteria means that the officer is expecting a bribe to clear it," said Kejriwal.

However, Delhi government officials said that the term repeated violations needs to be specified for clarity.

"Under the Lokayukta Act, even after the second appeal if the officer doesn't provide the service or delays it, is considered a violation. Under Jan Lokpal, too, we need to exactly specify what repeated violations means. For instance, it could be second appeal or third appeal. We will also set up an appellate authority within each department which will look into complaints of delay in services and simultaneously a Lokayukta representative will be appointed in each district for handling such grievances," said a senior Delhi government official.

The Delhi government has formed a committee, chaired by the chief secretary SK Srivastava, to fast track the framing of the first draft of the bill. The first meeting of the committee was held on Friday where the members started studying the draft of the Uttarkhand Lokayukta Bill, which was then praised by Anna Hazare.

Apart from this, Hazare's version of Jan Lokpal is also being studied which had provisions such as bringing all public officials, including the CM and the ministers in the purview of the investigation by the Lokayukta, annual declaration of assets by public officials. It also sought removal of corrupt officials and jail terms for them apart from confiscation of their property.

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