Apr 13, 2011

Lokpal & Civil Society - Aren't we creating a monster ?

Unparalleled concentration of power in any pillar of the society is a recipe for disaster, be it executive, judiciary or parliament. That is one of the basic philosophies upon which Indian constitution is built. To be fair enough, all these three pillars have reigned in themselves when one of them was trying to enlarge their power. However, I would admit that this system of checks and balances have not forced each other into an efficient system. And that deficiency is the root cause of these civil society movements which we’ve witnessed in recent times. Even so, the systemic inefficiency cannot be a justification for creating another pillar of constitution vested with unbridled authority

I don’t intend to repeat all the arguments again. If you have not read those, it is a must that you read through these links

1) http://www.indianexpress.com/news/of-the-few-by-the-few/772773/1

2) http://calamur.org/gargi/2011/04/06/my-issues-with-the-proposed-jan-lok-pal-bill/

3) http://www.livemint.com/2011/04/11213538/Anna-Hazare-and-India8217s.html?d=1

And, those of you who support Lokpal on the basis of Scandinavian model should first understand what their system is http://www.allscandinavia.com/ombudsman.htm

My opposition to the Lokpal bill is summarized in this question

Q. If, I as a civil servant / politician in power, am convicted by Lokpal, do I have the privilege to challenge that verdict in a court of law?

a. If the answer is ‘Yes’, then how different is LokPal from a subordinate/sessions/vigilance courts?

b. If the answer is ‘No’, you are creating a monster which is not accountable to anyone

The idea that self appointed guardians of civil society can be the magic wand wielding angels to cure us of corruption is preposterous, if not Utopian. And, there can never be one agreement in the selection of such committees. Already discordant voices have come up in plenty – Republican Party of India needs Dalit representation in the panel, Mallika Sarabhai wants women representation, BJP wants opposition representation and so on.

To me, the biggest losers in this circus are BJP & Left Front. They have allowed a coterie of people to exploit the political spectrum that rightfully belonged to the opposition. In a sense, this brings forth the fact that the consumerist society has become largely apolitical or non-believers in democratic processes, which is a dangerous thing to happen. Political parties across the spectrum should introspect & address that as a priority

The entire political spectrum is now agreeing at least passively to Hazare because of their fear of losing out of support from the middle class. I’d say that some version of Lokpal will come into picture, but the high profile legal background based panel that UPA has set up ( Sibal , Chidambaram, Mukherjee , Salman Khurshid ) will ensure that it’ll be a toothless tiger - and rightfully it should be so because no one, including those of highest moral eminence should be allowed to hijack the process of parliamentary democracy.

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