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Lok Pal Bill proposes special courts to hear and decide graft cases
August, 04th 2011

The anti corruption Lokpal Bill, to be tabled in parliament on Thursday, has proposed the setting up of special courts to hear and decide graft cases.

The Bill also provides for prosecution of persons who make false or frivilous compliants.

The Special Courts will be set up by the Centre and trails will have to be completed within a year from the date of filing the case in the court. However, if it cannot be completed, the special courts will have to record reasons in writing and complete the trail within three months or further periods not exceeding three months each, with a maximum limit of two years.

The prime minister and the judiciary have been excluded from the ambit of the landmark law to combat corruption. Civil society activists led by Anna Hazare are against these exclusions and reckon that the proposed law lacks teeth. However, the government has come under pressure to enact a law, following a spate of corruption scandals that have virtually paralysed its functioning.

The Lokpal will have a chairperson and eight members, including four judicial members. The chairperson will be a serving or a retired Supreme Court judge. It will probe allegations of corruption against a prime minister, after the person has demitted office, union minister, member of parliament and senior civil servants -- Group A officer or equivalent.

A chairperson or member or officer equivalent to Group A in any body, board, corporation, authority, company, society, trusts, autonomous body set up by an act of parliament or wholly or partly financed by the government will be covered under the proposed legslation. This means state owned companies and public charitable trusts, education institutions and hospitals that receive grants from the government will be covered under the Bill.

It will also include any director, manager, secretary, or other officer of a society or association of persons whose annual income exceeds a certain threshold. The limits will be set in the rules to be framed after the law is passed. However, religious trusts that receive donations will be out of the purview of the Bill.

The Lokpal will not require sanction or approval under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in cases where prosecution is proposed. It will also have powers to attach the property. The Bill also confers the powers of police upon the Lokpal that can recommend transfer or suspension of public servants found guilty of corrpution.

A public servant will also have to declare his assets and liabilities and in case of default or misleading information, the presumption would be that the public servant has acquired these assets by corrupt means.

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