The Jan Lokpal Bill (also referred to as the citizens’ ombudsman bill) is a proposed anti-corruption law in India. It is designed to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances and protect whistle-blowers. If passed and made into law, the bill seeks to create an ombudsman called the Lokpal (translation: protector of the people) – an independent body similar to the Election Commission of India with the power to investigate politicians and bureaucrats without prior government permission. First introduced in 1969, the bill has failed to become law for nearly over four decades.

In 2011, Gandhian rights 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 thousands of supporters. Following Hazare’s four day hunger strike, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the bill would be re-introduced in the 2011 monsoon session of the Parliament.

Attempts to draft a compromise bill, merging the Government’s version and that of the civil group’s version (Jan Lokpal), by a committee of five Cabinet Ministers and five social activists failed. The Indian government introduced its own version of the bill in the parliament, which the activists consider to be too weak.


The bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. However, it did not get through in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008. But these never passed.

Renewed calls for the bill arose over resentment of the major differences between the draft 2010 Lokpal Bill prepared by the government and that prepared by the members of the associated activists movement – mainly comprising of N. Santosh Hegde a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement.

The bill’s supporters consider existing laws too weak and insufficiently enforced to stop corruption.

Key features of proposed bill

  1. To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
  2. As in the case of the Supreme Court and Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission. As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations.
  3. Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
  4. A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public.
  5. Every month on its website, the Lokayukta will publish a list of cases dealt with, brief details of each, their outcome and any action taken or proposed. It will also publish lists of all cases received by the Lokayukta during the previous month, cases dealt with and those which are pending.
  6. Investigations of each case must be completed in one year. Any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year, giving a total maximum process time of two years.
  7. Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
  8. Government officework required by a citizen that is not completed within a prescribed time period will result in Lokpal imposing financial penalties on those responsible, which will then be given as compensation to the complainant.
  9. Complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within a month and, if found to be substantive, will result in the officer being dismissed within two months.
  10. The existing anti-corruption agencies (CVC, departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the CBI) will be merged into Lokpal which will have complete power and authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
  11. Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.

Difference between Government and activist drafts


Difference between Draft Lokpal Bill 2010 and Jan Lokpal Bill
Draft Lokpal Bill (2010) Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill)
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 have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body with a role limited to forwarding reports to a “Competent Authority”. Lokpal will have the power to initiate prosecution of anyone found guilty.
Lokpal will have no police powers and no ability to register an FIR or proceed with criminal investigations. Lokpal will have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs.
The CBI and Lokpal will be unconnected. Lokpal and the anti corruption wing of the CBI will be one independent body.
Punishment for corruption will be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of up to 7 years. Punishments will be a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of up to life imprisonment.


These differences between the two versions of the Lokpal Bill were claimed by India against Corruption in a document released online on June 23, 2011.Differences between the bills were also compared by The Hindu and Times of India on June 23, 2011

The Jan Lokpal Bill
Government’s Lokpal Bill
Comments by critics (India Against Corruption) of Lokpal
Comments by critics of Jan Lokpal
Prime Minister
Lokpal should have power to investigate allegations of corruption against PM. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints
PM kept out of Lokpal’s purview.
As of today, corruption by PM can be investigated under Prevention of Corruption Act. Government wants investigations to be done by CBI, which comes directly under him, rather than independent Lokpal.
The PM, as the head of the state, should not be allowed to be probed by an extra-constitutional body. That undermines existing bodies set up constitutionally to investigate that
Lokpal should have powers to investigate allegation of corruption against judiciary. Special safeguards provided against frivolous and mischievous complaints
Judiciary kept out ofLokpal purview.
Government wants this to be included in Judicial Accountability Bill (JAB).Under JAB, permission to enquire against a judge will be given by a three member committee (two judges from the same court and retd Chief justice of the same court). There are many such flaws in JAB. We have no objections to judiciary being included in JAB if a strong and effective JAB were considered and it were enacted simultaneously.
Having Lokpal investigate the Judiciary fouls the existing structure of the judicial review process. This is dangerous
Lokpal should be able to investigate conduct of MPs in Parliament, including allegations that any MP had taken bribe to vote or speak in Parliament.
Government has excluded this from Lokpal’s purview.
Taking bribe to vote or speak in Parliament strikes at the foundations of our democracy. Government’s refusal to bring it under Lokpal scrutiny virtually gives a license to MPs to take bribes with impunity.
According to Article 105 of the Constitution of India, MPs have certain legal protections for their actions in the Parliament. Lokpal cannot supercede this clause
Grievance redressal
Violation of citizen’s charter (if an officer does not do a citizen’s work in prescribed time) by an officer should be penalized and should be deemed to be corruption.
No penalties proposed.
Government had agreed to citizen activists’ demand in the Joint committee meeting on 23rd May. It is unfortunate they have gone back on this decision.
Anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal.
CBI to be completely controlled by the Government and the Prime Minister.
CBI is misused by governments. Recently, govt has taken CBI out of RTI, thus further increasing the scope for corruption in CBI. CBI will remain corrupt till it remains under government’s control
Selection of Lokpal members (Selection committee)
1. Broad based selection committee with 2 politicians, four judges and two independent constitutional authorities.
2. An independent search committee consisting of retd constitutional authorities to prepare first list.
3. A detailed transparent and participatory selection process.
1.Five out of ten members from ruling establishment and six politicians in selection committee (PM, Leaders of ruling party in two House, Leaders of Opposition in two houses, Minister for Home Affairs). Others bring two judges and President of National Academy of Sciences
2. Search committee to be selected by selection committee
3. No selection process provided. It will completely depend on selection committee.
Government’s proposal ensures that the government will be able to appoint its own people as Lokpal members and Chairperson. Interestingly, they had agreed to the selection committee proposed by us in the meeting held on 7th May. There was also a broad consensus on selection process. However, there was a disagreement on composition of search committee. We are surprised that they have gone back on the decision.
Who will Lokpal be accountable to?
To the people. A citizen can make a complaint to Supreme Court and seek removal.
To the Government. Only government can seek removal of Lokpal
With selection and removal of Lokpal in government’s control, it would virtually be a puppet in government’s hands, against whose seniormost functionaries it is supposed to investigate, thus causing serious conflict of interest.
Integrity of Lokpal staff
Complaint against Lokpal staff will be heard by an independent authority.
Lokpal itself will investigate complaints against its own staff
Government’s proposal creates a Lokpal, which is accountable either to itself or to the government. We have suggested giving these controls in the hands of the citizens.
Method of enquiry
Method would be the same as provided in CrPC like in any other criminal case. After preliminary enquiry, an FIR will be registered. After investigations, case will be presented before a court, where the trial will take place
CrPC being amended. Special protection being provided to the accused. After preliminary enquiry, all evidence will be provided to the accused and he shall be heard as to why an FIR should not be regd against him. After completion of investigations, again all evidence will be provided to him and he will be given a hearing to explain why a case should not be filed against him in the court. During investigations, if investigations are to be started against any new persons, they would also be presented with all evidence against them and heard.
Investigation process provided by the government would severely compromise all investigations. If evidence were made available to the accused at various stages of investigations, in addition to compromising the investigations, it would also reveal the identity of whistleblowers thus compromising their security. Such a process is unheard of in criminal jurisprudence anywhere in the world. Such process would kill almost every case.
Lower bureaucracy
All those defined as public servants in Prevention of Corruption Act would be covered. This includes lower bureaucracy.
Only Group A officers will be covered.
One fails to understand government’s stiff resistance against bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpal’s ambit. This appears to be an excuse to retain control over CBI because if all public servants are brought under Lokpal’s jurisdiction, government would have no excuse to keep CBI.
The same bill should provide for Lokpal at centre and Lokayuktas in states
Only Lokpal at the centre would be created through this Bill.
According to Mr Pranab Mukherjee, some of the CMs have objected to providing Lokayuktas through the same Bill. He was reminded that state Information Commissions were also set up under RTI Act through one Act only
Whistleblower protection
Lokpal will be required to provide protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption.
No mention in this law.
According to govt, protection for whistleblowers is being provided through a separate law. But that law is so bad that it has been badly trashed by standing committee of Parliament last month. The committee was headed by Ms Jayanthi Natrajan. In the Jt committee meeting held on 23rd May, it was agreed that Lokpal would be given the duty of providing protection to whistleblowers under the other law and that law would also be discussed and improved in joint committee only. However, it did not happen.
Special benches in HC
High Courts will set up special benches to hear appeals in corruption cases to fast track them.
No such provision
One study shows that it takes 25 years at appellate stage in corruption cases. This ought to be addressed.
On the basis of past experience on why anti-corruption cases take a long time in courts and why do our agencies lose them, some amendments to CrPC have been suggested to prevent frequent stay orders.
Not included
Dismissal of corrupt government servant
After completion of investigations, in addition to filing a case in a court for prosecution, a bench of Lokpal will hold openhearings and decide whether to remove the government servant from job.
The minister will decide whether to remove a corrupt officer or not.
Often, they are beneficiaries of corruption, especially when senior officer are involved. Experience shows that rather than removing corrupt people, ministers have rewarded them. Power of removing corrupt people from jobs should be given to independent Lokpal rather than this being decided by the minister in the same department.
Punishment for corruption
1. Maximum punishment is ten years 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 contracts.
None of these accepted. Only maximum punishment raised to 10 years.
Financial independence
Lokpal 11 members collectively will decide how much budget do they need
Will be paid through the Consolidated Fund of India(Finance ministry will decide the quantum of budget)
This seriously compromises with the financial independence of Lokpal
Prevent further loss
Lokpal will have a duty to take steps to prevent corruption in any ongoing activity, if brought to his notice. If need be, Lokpal will obtain orders from High Court.
No such duties and powers of Lokpal
2G is believed to have come to knowledge while the process was going on. Shouldn’t some agency have a duty to take steps to stop further corruption rather than just punish people later?
Tap phones
Lokpal bench will grant permission to do so
Home Secretary would grant permission.
Home Secretary is under the control of precisely those who would be under scanner. It would kill investigations.
Delegation of powers
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 trained by and working under Lokpal
The Central Government shall make available investigation officers and other staff from its Ministries or Departments, as may be required by the Lokpal, for carrying out investigation under this Act.
This is a sure way to kill Lokpal. The members, if they cannot hire investigative officers, will not be able to handle all cases. Within no time, they would be overwhelmed.
Only government funded NGOs covered
All NGOs, big or small, are covered.
A method to arm twist NGO
False, Frivolous and vexatious complaints
No imprisonment. Only fines on complainants. Lokpal would decide whether a complaint is frivolous or vexatious or false.
Two to five years of imprisonment and fine. The accused can file complaint against complainant in a court. Prosecutor and all expenses of this case will be provided by the government to the accused. The complainant will also have to pay a compensation to the accused.
This will give a handle to every accused to browbeat complainants. Often corrupt people are rich. They will file cases against complainants and no one will dare file any complaint. Interestingly, minimum punishment for corruption is six months but for filing false complaint is two years.

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  1. A.L.Chaudhary says:

    For making LOKPAL effective and result oriented it is necessary that LOKPAL is not burdened with False, Frivolous and vexatious complaints. Making False, Frivolous and vexatious complaints is very ciommon in our society therefore provison propsoed by Govt will be more in the interest of public and honest public servants.

  2. S.Mathivanan says:

    Government published Lokpal will certainly improve corruption and Government can name the bill as Corruption support Bill instead of Lokpal Bill

    Government’s action shows the country should be brought back to Pre Independence rule.

  3. Dilip says:

    I appreciate and supporting Shri Anna Hazare he is fighting for General People of India but at the same time feeling guilty that i am one of them who elect this government and firstly govt. have to think about his standing committee

  4. smita humnekar says:

    Jan lokpal bill is very strong and I think in it one thing also must be added the property more than legal earning of the corrupted person should be taken of with them and submitted to the govt. fund.

  5. Dhani ram Asst. Prof. Ramjas college D.U. says:

    First of all I salute to mother of Sh. Anna Hazare. Judges,teachers,N.G.O.,media and all others must be covered under this proposed Janlokpal Bill.


  6. sureshhr says:

    even though it is practicably immpossible to eradicate corruption unless both the hands (giver and taker) restraints from doing so, what is worrying fact is that the it is elected people who are making mocary of the democarcy by getting elected through frivolous method and has made the democratic house and business house, the tax money is seen as turnover and not as a budget to be utilised for development and upliftment of the poor, every scheme that is floated is with intention how much money the concerned ministry can expect as kich back, if take the back ground of the majority of the politicians in no time there wealth increased to 100 folds in various benamis it is unfortunate the many of the dogs which they have patrionised move around them wagging their tail for that corrupt poor people tax money, it is unfortunate to read in the newspaper that pchindambaram has stated that the people do not have right to frame the laws it appears that they have taken it for granted that no normal citizen, can enter the seat of power without money, and that they have the power of money and they will continue to rule at their whims and fancy, let me fore warn that a day will come where the people out of fursturation they will tear apart the entire administration to have their rights to live in honour – small scale corruption may difficult it is the corruption who are in seat of power whose magnitude is bigger than compared to the total budget that is worrying every body – it is prayed to elected members who have been voted with main intention for them to carryout social work and are paid for their job, and every citizen has right to question these repsentatives of the work they have carried out, they are not any god one day they will have to die it is best advised to die in honour rather than getting booted.

    long live people of india and support this movement which anna has taken up the task for the benefit of the people.

  7. k p saxena says:

    I hope that the Anti corruption Bill may also help in clearing the pending recommandations made by the sincere committees.As I know one which is pending since last June2010(Regarding Pension Revision under Employees Family Pension Scheme1995),if proper Pension Revision is made WILL help Millions of poor people of this country.

  8. Pravin Kumar says:

    Corruption free India was a dream of my grand parents but i do not want it to remain my dream only. I am supporting ANNA because something is better than nothing. Government LOKPAL is a joke because a whistle blower is given a jail term of 2 years and the corruption is decided by politicians.

    After watching many a TV channels, i feel our media too is divided in taking a stand against corruption. Is media corrupt otherwise what is the problem with all the news channel to fully support ANNA’s movement. Some malign by saying it is not middle class, some say everybody out there do not know what is lokpal all about etc.? Are we so innocent that we do not understand what is corruption? It is termite which is eating us every day. The Elite socialites do not want to understand our problem, the media anchors, editors do not try to make the issues simpler instead acts as mute spectators.

    A stronger LOKPAL will help to make Government understand that we want good legislation to curb corruption, remove poverty, improve economy and provide a decent well being to citizens of our motherland. JAI HIND

  9. ca rao says:

    Corruption Free Affairs needs to start with Revision of Every Act of country especially of Income Tax, Excise, Customs, Sales Tax viz., there by making Law simpler to read even to Common Man N also by cutting down the Discretionary powers of Implementing Agencies. Otherwise just passing of bill won’t do much except big hue & cry as is happing now.

  10. captainjohann says:

    I am as a citizen is worried about the lack of FOREIGN funded corruption which could not be investigated at all and NOT addressed by both the Jan as well as Government Lokpal bills.

    I mean how to Investigate and convict a bribe being given in Isle of Man, Lichenstein or in American or Swiss banks.We have already the case of Bofors which could not be investigated by CBI to its logical conclusion. We have cases like 2G scam and Hawala scam of Hassan ali which are pending in courts as also the Old Jain Hawala case un earthed during PV Narasimha rao time. They all could not be investigated.

    So a foreign BRIBER with Hawala money will have advantage with the present setup whether with Jan Lokpal or Government Lokpal

  11. vmbarve says:

    all those who think ‘lokpal’ is something great, guys, hw many of u hv actually taken help of anti corruption bureau, RTI Act, and other machinery already existing?

  12. Abhilash says:

    This is the part of the great shame that we people are selecting the government who is not interested in a proper way of work. The requirement is that not to involve in any sort of corruption. If we change our self then we can change the system or others

  13. Shaji.P says:

    After reading this comparison I felt living in “Incredible India.”. Felt sorry, shame and even humiliation. What is this govt provide to the people of this country?. If Minimum imprisonment for false complaint is 2 years, nobody will dare to make any complaint. “Minister will decide whether a corrupt officer will be removed or not” means there is no end of corruption in this country.

    I was a congressman so far. No I have to decide otherwise.

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