The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as the citizens' ombudsman bill is a proposed independent anti-corruption law in India. Anti-corruption social activists proposed it as a more effective improvement to the original Lokpal bill, which is currently being proposed by the the Government of India. The prefix Jan (translation: citizens) was added to signify the fact that these improvements include input provided by "ordinary citizens" through an activist-driven, non-governmental public consultation.
The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances of citizens, and protect whistle-blowers(a person who tells the public or someone in authority about dishonest or illegal activities occuring in a government department, public or a private organization or a company). If made into law, the bill would create an independent ombudsman body similar to the Election Commission of India called the Lokpal (Sanskrit: protector of the people). It would be empowered to register and investigate complaints of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats without prior government approval. First introduced in 1968, the bill has failed to become law for over four decades.
In 2011, civil activist Anna Hazare started a Satyagraha movement by commencing a fast unto death in New Delhi to demand the passing of the bill. The movement attracted attention in the media, and hundreds of thousands of supporters, in part due to the organizational skills of Arvind Kejriwal . Following Hazare's four day hunger strike, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the bill would be re-introduced in the 2011 monsoon session of the Parliament.
Accordingly, a committee of five Cabinet Ministers and five social activists attempted to draft a compromise bill merging the two versions but failed. The Indian government went on to propose its own version in the parliament, which the activists reject on the grounds of not being sufficiently effective
- Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo motu action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a role limited to forwarding reports to a "Competent Authority".
- Lokpal will have no police powers and no ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal investigations.
- The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected.
- Punishment for corruption will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 7 years.
- Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
- 2.Lokpal will have the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.
- Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs.
- Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body.
- Punishments will be a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.