Lokpal Bill movement
In 2011, Anna Hazare initiated a movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament. As a part of this movement, N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement drafted an alternate bill, named as the Jan Lokpal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Bill) with more stringent provisions and wider power to the Lokpal (Ombudsman). Hazare has started a fast unto death from 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a new bill with stronger penal actions and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh  Before commencing his ‘fast unto death’ he stated, “I will fast until Jan Lokpal Bill is passed”.
The movement attracted attention very quickly through various media. It has been reported that thousands of people joined to support Hazare’s effort. Almost 150 people are reported to join Hazare in his fast. He said that he would not allow any politician to sit with him in this movement. Politicians like Uma Bharti and Om Prakash Chautala were shooed away by protesters when they came to visit the site where the protest was taking place. A number of social activists includingMedha Patkar, Arvind Kejriwal and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, Jayaprakash Narayan of the Lok Satta have lent their support to Hazare’s hunger strike and anti-corruption campaign. This movement has also been joined by many people providing their support in Internet social media such as twitter and facebook. In addition to spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Swami Agnivesh and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, many celebrities showed their public support through micro-blogging site Twitter. As an outcome of this movement, on 6 April, 2011 Sharad Pawar resigned from the group of ministers formed for reviewing the draft Lokpal bill 2010.
The movement gathered quite a significant amount of support from India’s youth visible through the local support and on social networking sites like Facebook andTwitter. There have also been protests in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad among other cities of India.
Background of the movement
The movement started due to the resentment because of the serious differences between the draft Lokpal Bill 2010 prepared by the government and the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by the members of this movement, which has received significant public support:
|Draft Lokpal Bill 2010||Jan Lokpal Bill|
|Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.||Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.|
|Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the “Competent Authority”||Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.|
|Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.||Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.|
|CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.||Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.|
|Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up-to 7 years.||The punishment should be minimum 7 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.|
|Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area.|
Originally posted 2011-04-08 10:16:05.