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Aamir Khan answers 20 key questions on Lokpal

Last updated on: July 21, 2011 08:21 IST

Aamir Khan answers 20 key questions on Lokpal

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Look who's come out in the open with his views on the Lokpal Bill.

Replying to a a questionnaire consisting of 20 questions on key issues on Lokpal Bill sent to him by the NGO India Against Corruption, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has given his thumbs up for the draft version put forward by Anna Hazare and his team.

India Against Corruption had sent the questionnaire to 250 personalities for their views on the proposed Bill.

Let's take a look at Aamir's responses to the 20 key issues.

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Aamir Khan

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Issue Number 1: Prime Minister

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Issue Number 1: Prime Minister

Team Anna view: Any allegation of corruption against PM should be investigated by an independent agency like Lokpal. Special safeguards will be provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints. A bench of seven members of Lokpal will first hear the complaints and decide whether there is adequate prima facie evidence to pursue the investigation, and could punish the mala fide complainants.

Government's view: Any allegation of corruption against PM should be investigated by CBI, which is under the administrative control of the PM himself.

Aamir's view: The PM should come under the perview of the Lokpal.



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Issue Number 2: Judiciary

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Issue Number 2: Judiciary

Team Anna view:  An independent seven member bench of Lokpal should grant permission to register FIR against a judge, which is presently being provided only by Chief Justice of India after judgment in the K Veeraswamy case 1991(3) SCC 655. Lokpal will ensure special safeguards against frivolous and mischievous complaints.

Government's view:  In the proposed Judicial Accountability Bill, permission to register FIR against a judge will be granted by a three member committee, consisting of two judges of the same high court and one retired Chief Justice of the same high court.

Aamir's views: Lokpal should have power to grant permission to register FIR against a judge.



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Issue Number 3: Members of Parliament

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Issue Number 3: Members of Parliament

Team Anna view: Lokpal should be able to investigate allegations against MPs if they take bribe to vote or raise questions in Parliament.

Government's view: Allegations against MPs should be investigated by an in house committee of MPs.  Through this system, many members were expelled; however no one has been prosecuted so far, despite so many cases of horse trading being exposed.

Aamir's views: Yes Lokpal should be able to investigate allegations against MPs.



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Issue Number 4: Grievance Redressal

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Issue Number 4: Grievance Redressal

Team Anna view: Each department should have a Citizen's Charter specifying which work will be done by which officer in how much time. Violation of Citizen's Charter, i.e. if an officer doesn't do a citizen's work in prescribed time, and subsequently the Head of that department (HOD) also fails, should result in a penalty on the officer as well as the HOD. This penalty should be given as compensation to the citizen and it should be deemed to be corruption.

Government's view: Government has agreed to citizen's charters. However, government disagrees on penalties. In the absence of penalties, the compliance of Citizen's Charter is highly unlikely.

Aamir's views: I agree with your view.



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Issue Number 5: Central Bureau of Investigation

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Issue Number 5: Central Bureau of Investigation 

Team Anna view: Anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into independent institution of Lokpal.

Government's view: Government wants to maintain a separate investigation agency which is under its direct control.

Aamir's views: Anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged with Lokpal.



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Issue Number 6: Selection of Lokpal Members

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Issue Number 6: Selection of Lokpal Members

Team Anna view: A detailed broad based and transparent selection process is laid out with participation from public. A Search committee comprising of people form retired constitutional authorities (like CEC, CAG) as well as civil society shall identify people thrice the number of vacancies for Lokpal members. Feedback from public will be invited and then finally the selection committee with 2 politicians, 4 judges and 2 independent constitutional authorities will select Lokpal and members.

Government's view: In the Selection committee, 6 out of 10 members will be directly from the ruling establishment. No clear selection process is provided, will completely depend on the whims of selection committee. The Search committee will also be selected by Selection committee, thus making it a pawn of Selection Committee.

Aamir's views: Selection process should have 4 judges and 4 independent constituitional authorities, and no politicians.   



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Issue Number 7: Who will Lokpal be accountable to?

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Issue Number 7: Who will Lokpal be accountable to?

Team Anna view: To the people. Any citizen can seek removal of Lokpal or its members by just filing petition in Supreme Court.

Government's view: To the government. Only government  can seek removal of Lokpal members. Government could even suspend a Lokpal member. This means that any inconvenient Lokpal member will be proceeded against. With selection and removal of Lokpal in government's control, it would virtually be a puppet in government's hands.

Aamir's views: Lokpal should be accountable only to the people. Government can also file a petition to Supreme Court if government wants to seek removal of any member.



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Issue Number 8: Integrity of Lokpal staff

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Issue Number 8: Integrity of Lokpal staff

Team Anna view: Complaint against Lokpal staff will be heard by an independent complaints authority. Regular social audits at each level of Lokpal, annual financial audit and performance audit by CAG and annual performance appraisal by parliamentary committee.

Government's view: Lokpal members will themselves resolve  complaints against Lokpal. All these proposals have been rejected by the government.

Aamir's views: I agree with your (Team Anna) view.



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Issue Number 9: Lower bureaucracy

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Issue Number 9: Lower bureaucracy

Team Anna view: All those defined as "public servants" in Prevention of Corruption Act would be covered. This includes entire bureaucracy.

Government's view: Only Group A officers of the central government will be covered.

Aamir's views: All public servants should be covered


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Issue Number 10: Lokayukta in each state

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Issue Number 10: Lokayukta in each state

Team Anna view: The same bill should provide for Lokpal at Centre and Lokayuktas in states

Government's view: Only Lokpal at the Centre would be created through this Bill. According to Pranab Mukherjee, some of the CMs have objected to providing Lokayuktas through the same Bill. However, all Congress CMs have written that they will abide by whatever high command decides. He was also reminded that state Information Commissions and Central Information Commission were also set up under RTI Act through one Act only.

Aamir's views: Same bill should provide for Lokpal at Centre and Lokayukta at the state level.



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Issue Number 11: Whistleblower protection

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Issue Number 11: Whistleblower protection

Team Anna view: Lokpal will be required to provide protection  to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption

Government's view: According to the government, protection for whistleblowers is being provided through a separate law. But that law is so bad that it has been trashed by standing committee of Parliament last month. The committee was headed by Jayanthi Natrajan.

Aamir's views: Whistleblowers and witnesses must be provided protection. 



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Issue Number 12: Special benches in High Court

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Issue Number 12: Special benches in High Court

Team Anna view: High courts will set up special benches to hear appeals in corruption case to fast track them. Any appeal should be disposed within six months. One study shows that it takes 25 years at appellate stage in corruption cases.

Government's view: No such provision.

Aamir's views: Corruption cases must be fast tracked. Any appeal must be disposed off in six months.



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Issue Number 13: Dismissal of corrupt government servants

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Issue Number 13: Dismissal of corrupt government servants

Team Anna view: After completion of investigations, in addition to filing a case in a court for prosecution, a bench of Lokpal will hold open hearings and decide whether to remove the government servant from job. Lokpal's order could be challenged in the high court.

Government's view: The minister will decide whether to remove a corrupt officer or not. Often, there is collusion between a minister and senior functionaries. Rather than punish them, corrupt officers are often rewarded.

Aamir's views: Corrupt public/government servant must be removed from job. Lokpal's order can be challenged in court.


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Issue Number 14: Punishment for Corruption

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Issue Number 14: Punishment for Corruption

Team Anna view
1 Maximum punishment should be life imprisonment

2 Higher punishment if rank of accused is higher

3 Higher fines if accused are business entities

4 If successfully convicted, a business entity should be blacklisted from future government contracts.

Government's view: None of these accepted. Only maximum punishment raised to ten years from earlier seven years.

Aamir's views: I agree with your (Team Anna) view.


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Issue Number 15: Financial Independence

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Issue Number 15: Financial Independence

Team Anna view:  Lokpal budget shall be charged to Consolidated Fund of India. However, the quantum of budget shall be determined by the 11 members collectively and not exceeding 0.25 per cent of total revenues.

Government's view:  Lokpal budget shall be charged to Consolidated Fund of India. However, the quantum of budget shall be determined by Ministry of Finance. This seriously compromises with the financial independence of Lokpal

Aamir's views: I agree with your view. Finance ministry should not be involved. 



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Issue Number 16: Prevent further corruption loss

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Issue Number 16: Prevent further corruption loss

Team Anna view:
Lokpal will have a duty to take steps to prevent corruption in any ongoing activity, if brought to his notice. Lokpal will make recommendations to the government. If government does not accept those recommendations, Lokpal may approach high court and obtain necessary orders.

Government's view: No such duties and powers of Lokpal

Aamir's view: This need not be a part of the duties of Lokpal. But nothing stops people from making a complaint to Lokpal and Lokpal can start proceedings. 



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Issue Number 17: Delegation of Powers

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Issue Number 17: Delegation of Powers

Team Anna view: Lokpal members will only hear cases against senior officers and politicians or cases involving huge amounts. Rest of the work will be done by officers working under supervision of Lokpal.

Government's view: All work will be done by 11 members of Lokpal. Practically no delegation at all! This is a sure way to make Lokpal dysfunctional by sheer overburden. 

Aamir's view: I  agree with your (Team Anna) view.


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Issue Number 18: Jurisdiction over all NGOs, associations

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Issue Number 18: Jurisdiction over all NGOs, associations

Team Anna view: Only NGOs funded by government covered

Government's view: All NGOs, big or small, whether government funded or not, even unregistered movements and campaigns also covered under the ambit of Lokpal. This seems to be targeting those who raise their voice against corruption.

Aamir's view: Everyone who is a Public Servant and/or dealing with a Public Servant should come under Lokpal. 



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Issue Number 19: False, frivolous and vexatious complaints

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Issue Number 19: False, frivolous and vexatious complaints

Team Anna view: No imprisonment. Only fines on complainants. Lokpal would decide whether a complaint is frivolous or vexatious or false.

Government's view: Two to five years of imprisonment and fine. The accused has a right to file cross complaint against complainant directly in special court. Free advocate will be provided to the accused by the government to file a case against complainant, while the citizen has to defend by self.

If proved frivolous, the citizen who has made the complainant will also have to pay compensation to the accused. This provision will give a handle to every accused to browbeat complainants. Interestingly, minimum punishment for corruption is six months but for filing false complaint is two years

Aamir's views: If complaint turns out to be false or frivolous then punishment should be fines. Lokpal should decide on this. There should be no imprisonment, unless it is proved that complainant had malafide intentions. If complainant had specific intention to malign and trouble an honest public servant then punishment should be fine and jail. Lokpal should decide on this.



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Issue Number 20: Method of inquiry

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Issue Number 20: Method of inquiry

Team Anna view: Same procedure as is followed for investigation of any other crime should be followed.

Government's view: Government has made special concessions, contrary to the provisions in CrPC. The accused would be issued show cause notice and after showing him all evidence, he would be asked why an FIR should not be registered against him.

Aamir's views: Normal procedure should be followed as for any investigation.


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