The heads of anti-corruption panels of the Indian states began a two-day meet in Bangalore on Saturday to firm up modalities to curb increasing cases of graft in the country.
At present, most of these panels called Lok Ayukta at the state-level and Lok Pal at the national level do not have power to prosecute those found involved in corruption. They can only recommend prosecution to the state and central governments.
For instance, in Karnataka, the state government had excluded the head of the Lok Ayukta from even investigating corruption charges against top civil servants belonging to all India cadres like the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service.
Such powers were granted when the panel was set up over a decade ago but were taken away within six months.
However, early this week the state cabinet decided to restore such powers and an ordinance will be issued soon.
"The common man is hit hard by deep-rooted corruption. He has no mechanism to redress his grievances," Chief Justice of India Justice KG Balakrishnan told the meeting which will discuss a model Bill on the powers and jurisdiction for all these panels.
He particularly referred to the pathetic state of the public distribution system under which the poorer sections of the country are to get food grains at low prices.
In some states, not a single grain reaches the common man, Balakrishnan said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his message to the meet, said his government was committed to the policy of zero tolerance of corruption.
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy presided over the inauguration. On Sunday, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil will address the meet.