Bengaluru-based non-profit 'I Paid A Bribe' to offer advice and advocates to fight corruption
IPAB will launch an online platform to help the victims of corruption fight bribe takers with legal consultation and offering the services of an advocate.
The initiative by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is sure to encourage the victims of bribe to take on the corrupt officials in high places and fight them legally. The city-based law firm, Lawfarm, is part of the initiative.
The helpline is coming up at a time when cor ruption has not spared even the anti-corruption watchdog Lokayukta where investigators have arrested senior officials and their kin in cases involving large-scale corruption.
IPAB is the largest online crowd-sourced anticorruption platform in the world. The launch event will be held at the University Law College in the city. Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde will be the guest of honour. The World Justice Project has funded the project.
The helpline, which is a microsite in the ipaidabribe.com, would help users of the platform get legal advice and assist ance. Sylvia Veeraraghavan, coordinator, JanaOnline that runs the IPAB initiative, told ET that people, after reporting a corruption case, curiously look for legal options available. While some would want to know how to file an RTI, others prefer to take bribe-takers to court.So, ipaidabribe.com is giving this additional value to the user, she said.
"Apart from free legal assistance, we would help people draft complaints, direct them to the right lawyers working for a reduced pro bono fee and even help them file RTIs," she said.
Sreerupa Chaudhary , Partner, Lawfarm, added that while the team of four dedicated members can handle up to 30-40 advise-related requests per day , they intend to recruit interns from law schools who will be trained to handle preliminary complaints.
Lawfarm, which also assists Janaagraha with its process reform initiatives, has received a grant of $30,000 as part of the Roderick B Mathews Opportunity Fund, WJP's initiative that supports pilot projects that identify the weak rule of law and propose innovative solutions.
Justice Hegde said the initiative would also open up opportunities for junior, public-spirited lawyers whose court appearances are often limited. "But is important to monitor their performance," he said. "The platform should receive weekly or monthly performance reports of the accounts handled by each lawyer, number of cases won and lost."