A nation that ranks in the 80s according to leading reports in the most corrupted countries list is indeed corrupted beyond imagination. India as a nation doesn’t faces corruption in financial sector only but also in social and political field. We are cursed by a social structure in which the human dignity is often undermined, in a political setup where a mockery of democracy is created. Democracy indeed means that every individual’s opinion is taken into account but the fact that remains in India is that not all people can make an informed choice and sadly this fraction does at times fall in a majority. This choice is in a lot of cases coerced by money or muscle power, all in all corruption is deeply rooted into Indian society today.
What we see or hear in news are the big stories, of scams which are so huge that may be the amount is just an estimate. But we never tried to understand where all of these started from. The biggest question today that you must answer for yourself is whether the corruption that is faced by a common man in each and every facet of his life is actually the one that has trickled down from the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. If not than how and where did it start?
Economy deals with a trickledown effect in which long term policies that are sustainable leads to benefits to each and every individual of the system. What corruption follows is an opposite policy, “the theory of piling up”. When one individual from one corner of the nation gives or takes bribe he adds up to the treasury of black money, a part of which instead of going back to govt revenue falls out of the economy and finally reaches higher hands and is exported to Switzerland. Because this person began a chain of acting corrupted the higher we move up the pyramid the higher is the magnitude of the money that is taken or given because now there are less hands to be shared amongst. Finally when it reaches the top it gets to be branded as a scam. It seems this machinery functions quite smoothly, which implies the fallacies that lies already in the Indian system of administration, no doubt we have some of the most talented administrative officers in the world whom even Anna Hazare trusts for constituting the Lokpal but their intent can now be seriously questioned.
Why is it that in India which boast of being the largest democracy faces such massive amount of corruption, has it got to do with the quality of people or its quantity, human nature is always been to firstly secure his berth and to do so he can go to quite an extent. Similarly with the burden of population that India faces this bar of stretching ones extent which I talked about is further raised. In India as in many other underdeveloped or developing countries the demand supply curve of opportunity and man power is so skewed that for every possible opportunity there is thousands running a race for it, as such the term power finds its true meaning in this part of the world. Power is misused, power is mistreated and power is delegitimized by the power of money. India has to keep facing this problem until the opportunity manpower curve is balanced, because otherwise as Darwin predicted only the fit shall survive, the term fit in today’s world has found its own new meaning.
So in such an India in which corruption is deep rooted into the social structure what is Anna trying to achieve. He wishes to break all barriers of the current constitution, undermine all democratic ethoses and bestow upon all a bill which is supposedly prepared by the civil society. The first question that’s comes to mind is that, was there a democratic exercise done to understand what civil society wants? Well of course the Magsaysay club might consider themselves to be the one who should be blindfolded trusted by the others in civil society but that needn’t always be true. So being a common person from the civil society I would first want to justify myself why I must support the Jan Lokpal Bill.
While going through the draft of the Jan Lokpal bill which was first brought in parliament in 1968 and was further placed on the floor of the house several times including 1998 and 2001 when NDA were themselves in power, we can visualize clearly that this bill tries to instill mammoth powers on the selected Lokpal which might be detrimental to democracy or beneficial to democracy. When we go clause by clause we have to keep asking ourselves is this justified for me to accept this as a free Indian.
Who shall be the Lokpal?
A person from civil society who shall be a selected person, selected by the upper brass of the civil society namely IAS officers, supreme court judges etc. over here I am made to question that if in a democracy I have voted for one person to govern us than isn’t it undemocratic for one group of people to install another person above him.
What shall come under his purview?
He shall be dealing with cases of corruption. There is possible no machinery that can seclude a normal case and a corruption case, until it is proved to be a non corrupt case there is always a chance of corruption and hence every possible case can be screened by the Lokpal which virtually brings all matters under his jurisdiction.
What will be the timeframe under which it shall function?
It is supposed that every case will be disposed in just a period of 2 years. Now such acts have been enacted before in India, be it the IMDT act or foreigners tribunal, in both cases we have seen the discipline adhered to in disposing cases by such independent judicial bodies. So what Jan Lokpal promises is something that I as a rational citizen examining past instances cannot agree to.
Who will select the Lokpal?
The Lokpal would be selected by PM, leader of opposition, people from commissions and retired judges of Supreme Court etc. The simple question being PM, Supreme Court judges constitute the current anti corruption setup, in a way you trust the current setup here again?
On analyzing the clauses we see that this bill tries to constitute the Lokpal as a dictator in an otherwise democratic country. The fact that I am calling the Lokpal a dictator is because of the way it tries to establish itself undermining the so called democratic setup of this nation. We agree to the fact that India needs strong force to fight corruption, let’s ask ourselves, what if the CBI & CVC are made independent investigation bodies like the election commission, the proposed law to bring the judiciary under an accountability is passed and if all citizen are more concerned and use of RTI is made in true sense wont India move towards lesser corruption, what might seem to many as a slimy version has actually received international acclaim when Amartya Sen introduced his “idea of justice” where justice was a minimization of injustice. Now this seems a viable solution to many Indians. But still there are hundreds on the streets still trying to go with Anna. But the reason I believe Anna has been doing wrong is because his ends doesn’t justify the means. Whatever the fictional success of this bill might be but the means of coercive action to compel the govt to meet your demands is not an appropriate measure, the reason I am saying so is because out of the many who are on the streets to protest corruption don’t themselves have a clear understanding of what lies ahead, what the media and for that matter everyone is observing is the number of heads and not necessarily the voice. The voice even if exists is against corruption and not necessarily for the Jan Lokpal bill, where as team Anna seems more interested in getting the bill passed. Being a civil society member if many like me have doubts in this version of the bill it means that there needs to be discussion firstly at the civil society level and then between government and civil society representatives. The whole process of hunger strike, candle light protests seems vague until Team Anna can convince people the need of this bill. Even if he convinces us of the need which is anti corruption measure to which we all shall agree its effectiveness is what must be justified if questioned, amended if felt necessary by either the govt or some member of civil society and then presented and fought for. What comes across to me is an ardent desire of Anna and his team to get the bill passed, a bill to which I am not convinced and hence would say that I don’t support Anna Hazare and his campaign.
Moreover as a youth of this booming nation the reason I would suggest that we don’t need a Lokpal who will try to look for corruption in every possible case follows this analysis. What India and for that matter Indians needs to do as of now is to forget the past and march ahead with development in all sectors, we need to minimize corruption, hence we need to be more responsible towards our nation, very few people out of the thousands marching on the streets would know of the Indian Penal Code 1860 & Prevention of Corruption act 1988 using which we can uproot corruption to a great extent. Using RTI as a tool various governmental scams can also be uncovered. Through all such measures we can achieve what we all want to achieve and hence in this era of liberalization moving back to a system where undermining democracy an overriding parallel system is setup would be the last wish of many Indians because that is going to begin an era of clashing opinions, viewpoints and push India back a few steps on its march towards development. More than that this Jan Lokpal bill will also act as an agency whose presence will give Indians a pseudo feel of being in a less corrupt India which may not be the fact because justice within 2 years and justice for each and every small issue is a distant dream to cherish for which we shall require an infrastructure multiple times of the one we have at place for our judiciary system. Also the ones in favor of the Jan Lokpal bill gives a feel that the govt is doing nothing to prevent corruption which is not the case considering the fact that major ministers and bureaucrats are under arrest today, Still if people are not happy than ask this question to yourself: once a person is accused of having heavy amount of money in Swiss bank which is currently known to govt of India also in many cases than if the govt is unable to bring back that money how will the Lokpal do so? And to add to it this Bill symbolizes a losing faith in democracy of India in which we are projecting a non democratic post to be higher than the one which has been universally voted for and then using the loopholes of democracy such as right to express as a tool to coerce the government to enact it. As the youth of a rising nation we must understand that the parliament must be the most powerful system of this democracy, the parliament has been taking measures from time to time to minimize corruption and we must trust them, work on them and with them. To be active players in eradicating corruption we must look near us and try to remove it from the bottom of the system for then the File up will reduce and so will India be more liberated than before. Even if in future a single Lokpal on whom we bestow so much power plays with his powers India shall be doomed for the worse and hence a democratic setup to which we can always redress and amend is far better than one sole head for a nation like India. Not necessarily by having someone at the top can we reduce the filled up matter but by being active players at the bottom can we prevent garbage from piling up for the betterment of India. And if the later one can be done by not undermining democracy than that is what young India must look for, we should fight for strict laws and an independent investigation agency but not the way it’s done now, an agreement is expected after talks but if we have a preset agreement in mind may be we won’t ever arrive at a conclusion and hence being part of a democracy we must open up the space for both parties to negotiate without coercion and urgency, but above all as responsible citizens of tomorrow we must not be swayed by emotion today for a better India of tomorrow and hence must understand what is best for my nation and only then move towards the streets if required for enacting that measure. The Jan Lokpal bill has been discussed at several forums and many government and non government bodies have suggested changes and hence coercing the govt at this juncture would be like coercing yourself to believe that Jan Lokpal Bill in its current form is the best which you as an informed Indian must restrain from doing.