Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Derailing Democracy: Will Lokpal Restore Credibility

Derailing Lokpal in an Exploitative Democracy By Justice Kamleshwar Nath
“Devil quotes Scriptures”. Look who says: Civil Society undermines Democracy – Government of India’s Chairman of Lokpal Drafting Committee, Mr Pranab Mukherji!
Democracy established by Constitution of India is one of the best in the World; but the People of India, who gave the Constitution to themselves, are reeling under Exploitative Democracy where –
  • An elected Lok Sabha of 543 MPs has 154 facing criminal cases of which about 50 are for committing heinous offences; and this number has increased with every succeeding election.
  • Sitting convicted MPs enjoy immunity from Disqualification under Section 8(4) of Representation of People Act 1951, despite peoples’ demand to repeal the Sub-section.
  • Immunity for conduct in matters related with debates in Houses under Article 105(3) of the Constitution extends to criminal acts, like the infamous Jharkhand Mukti Morcha case of bribe given by the Prime Minister Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao.
  • The emoluments of an MP are 100-times more than the per capita income of a Citizen, and the emoluments go on increasing by leaps and bounds through self-serving enactments passed in no time.
  • Launching of prosecution for Corruption (and related crimes) by elected representatives and bureaucrats needs sanction of some executive authority, and the sanction rarely comes.
  • Anti-corruption measures visualised through an effective Lokpal have been studiously diluted by 9 Bills drafted since 1968 but never passed, the last one being the present Government’s Lokpal Bill 2010 which is the last straw on the back of the Nation in various ways, including ban on the Lokpal to take cognizance of any complaint and certainly not suo motu.
  • International perception of corruption (2010) of 126 countries through surveys made by 10 independent Internationally reputed institutions like World Bank & IBRD, Bertelsman Foundation, World Economic Forum, Global Insight and Transparency International Berlin, ranks India at 87 with countries like Albania, Jamaica and Liberia at index of 3.3 (out of 10) – continuously falling from 3.5 in 2007 and 3.4 in 2008 & 2009 – while countries having effective Ombudsman Institution like Finland, Denmark, Sweden, USA are ranked between 9.7 and 7.
  • Series of Scams have topped with CWG Scam and 2G Spectrum Scam of 2010 which involved some Ministers of Govt. of India, confirming the national level of corruption. Black money stashed away in Foreign Banks has risen to 1,546 billion Dollars which far exceeds the aggregate (1056 bn. $) of ‘next four’ countries namely Russia, UK, Ukraine and China (vide Times of India Ahmedabad dt. 8th June 2011).
  • Violence unleashed by Delhi Police over thousands of peaceful Satyagrahis in the dead of night between 4th and 5th of June last, causing serious injuries to many whose only fault was to be on fast in support of Baba Ram Dev’s call on the Government to get black money indicted at (8) while the Police had given permission to Baba Ram Dev only to hold Yoga camp! Another pretext was that Baba Ram Dev had gone back on his promise to give up fast! Well, this is Pranab Mukherji’s Democracy! A shocked Baba ran for his life and in thoughtless reaction to official brutality announced formation of imaginary volunteer force on some unforeseen period of time to take on the police force when necessary. On the one hand Baba lost his balance due to shock, on the other hand Government lost its balance in sheer anger, born of fear of Peoples’ unification on the Issue of corruption, and on finding Baba’s support from RSS and BJP! And as things unravel from the statements of Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram, and certain spokespersons of Congress, the Govt. is bent upon using violence not only on Baba but also on Anna Hazare.

    Numerous other examples may be catalogued. If this is not Exploitative Democracy, what is it?
    On the moral plane, Govt of India (indeed almost all Governments) run their own model of secularism which excels in Communalism, Casteism, hate for the opponent coupled with ‘divide and rule’. To Indian National Congress, RSS and BJP are the biggest perpetual enemy, shamelessly linking them with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi despite the fact that they had been cleared by the Court. Religious education in Government educational institutions is prohibited; it is not even substituted by Moral Education of common principles of discipline and good behaviour culled out from all religions in India. The result is growth of generations bereft of morals and ethics – the ever increasing crimes are unfailing signals of that development.

    People have suffered immensely over the last 30 years. It is high time that injustice meted out to the people is remedied of which the first natural step is to eliminate Corruption. The Civil Society is well within its ambitions when it presses upon the Government to enact an effective Lokpal. It has the support of the entire Nation and India-Against-Corruption deserves full-throated praise; Gandhian Seva & Satyagraha Brigade (which floated the concept of Fast), Transparency International India (I believe) and a number of NGOs across the Country have announced their support. Baba Ram Dev too is on the same subject of Corruption; as Anna Hazare said, he is immature added to which is his shocked state due to official violence. He should frankly admit his mistake in being thoughtlessly bold; that will raise his stature in the eyes of people, for acknowledgment of fault is surest atonement of wrong. Even Mahatma Gandhi admitted his “Himalayan Blunder” on Chauri-Chaura episode whereupon he called off his Movement. Government, being what it is, is now linking Hazare and Baba with BJP and RSS, thinking it will justify Government action; but people know better. It is hoped that the crusade against Corruption will go on with added fervour and determination in a non violent, firm and peaceful way. May God be with all crusaders.
    Kamleshwar Nath is a Retd Judge, Allahabad High Court and Chairman, Gandhian Seva & Satyagraha Brigade.
    Derailing Lokpal in an Exploitative Democracy

    Dear Chander
    The article "Corruption in Politics and Politics in Corruption" (click here)is linked. Will be grateful if this can be put out on RMS and Sanjhamorcha blogs.
    (Brig RS Chhikara, Secy Gen INA Trust)
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