Paying the Bill
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- DK Ravi's death: Govt calls in CBI, tells court he had a ‘relationship’ with batchmate
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- 1987 Hashimpura massacre: The photographs that stand witness
The Lokpal now being proposed is a strange beast, one that concentrates too many punitive powers, and acts as a parallel police and court. It can be argued this bill cedes too much — for instance, the prime minister is now accountable to the Lokpal, which was only the legislature's prerogative so far. The Lokpal needs no sanction or approval for preliminary investigations, can search and seize any documents, and has the powers of a civil court (unlike the CBI, which still needs sanction). It has de facto control of the CBI, its investigations, chargesheets and closure reports. If the Lokpal or any officer it authorises has reason to believe a public servant possesses ill-begotten gains, they can provisionally attach her property. If a public servant fails to declare her assets, for whatever reasons, these will be "presumed to be assets acquired by corrupt means". For all this reflexive suspicion of legislators and civil servants, it reposes great trust in the individuals who will people its offices. Its members, if not judicial members, shall be of "impeccable integrity and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than twenty-five years in the matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance including insurance and banking, law and management." The Lokpal chairperson can be removed only by the president — based on a petition by at least 100 MPs, or by any one citizen.