Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Appeal to the India Against Corruption team: Drop the Fast

I appeal to the India Against Corruption team to drop the (protest) fast planned for April 5, 2011.

For the following reasons:

1. In a Democracy, Parliament is the place to make laws. Not necessarily the Treasury benches let alone the Executive offices of the Cabinet. Please approach individual MPs directly to table the Janlokpal Bill as a private member bill and then lobby the entire house to debate and pass it.

2. The Prime Minister, has kept his promise to consult civil society activists in the draft of the Treasury version of the Lokpal Bill. There was a meeting yesterday. Thats more than what is required of the govt.

3. Lobby groups like IAC being allowed to draft the treasury version of a bill is not a good precedent. In the future, an argument could be made to involve RSS and other Hindutva Terror groups in drafting the Anti-Cow Slaughter bill or SIMI and other Jihadi Terror groups in drafting the Uniform Civil Code. The Group of Ministers has asked civil society to comment on the individual provisions of the Lokpal Bill. Thats what civil society should do.

4. Janlokpal Bill is not necessarily a good one. Infact, I find it anti-democratic and hence unconstitutional. Provisions like merging the CVC with Lokpal are debatable. And demanding that a collegium of Judges, Nobel and Bharat Ratna award recipients et al appoint the Lokpal might provoke hearty laughter, except that its plain anti-democratic. We are not a Platonic Republic but a Democratic Constitutional one.

*****

The following is a mail I wrote this morning to one of the activists knowledgeable in the subject. And you may also want to read the previous open letter I wrote to the IAC team.

oh, you have put it very nicely. i'm also wondering how does this lokpal fit in with our constitutional republic. i asked Justice Santosh Hegde "if the Jan Lokpal Bill is consistent with our constitution and democracy". he said yes. but this was at the interaction program organized by IAC and i don't think i could convey my misgivings properly in a one line question.

i read both the drafts of lokpal and janlokpal, i don't find anything particularly wrong with the lokpal bill. it does require that the speaker/secretaries be approached to investigate a member of parliament/official. i don't find anything wrong with that. just that the lokpal office, on behalf of the complainant, should be able to approach the judiciary if it believes the speaker or the secretary is reneging in his/her duty to take cognizance of an offense.

other jan lokpal bill provisions like abolition of section 197 of CrPC are not really related to the lokpal. their demand to abolish the CVC and merging it into Lokpal seems to miss the whole point of CVC being a vigilance agency at the bureaucratic level while Lokpal being the proposed agency to investigate more sensitive constitutional offices of the republic.

however, i don't necessarily agree with lokpal becoming a stronger agency for investigation. Police, CBI, ED, CVC are these very institutions. just that they need a strong backer in the public ombudsman namely Lokpal, so that they can investigate without fear of being harassed by the powerful people they are investigating. for example, CBI functions much better when it has the backing of the supreme court. so Lokpal having the powers to order an inquiry by the police or CBI, advising the filing of an FIR, Chargesheet etc should be enough.

if anything, i find the whole concept of lokayukta police quite bizarre. why isn't the entire police of the state available to the lokayukta to investigate?

btw, have you had a chance to look at the French Conseil d'etat, which performs an advisory, but seemingly binding role in overseeing administrative omissions and commissions.

-Balaji.

7 comments:

vamsee said...

So much comedy in one post.

Is IAC is lobbying govt to give away spectrum to TATA & Reliance for throw away prices ?

Approach MPs to pass a bill that will threaten their ill gains ?

That is more than required by the govt ?, Are you freaking jocking ?

IAC, RSS & SIMI Yeah I can see the similarity.

Jan lokpal Bill is anti-democratic in what way ?, Why would we need jan lokpal if the existing laws are working perfectly ?


Debate all you want, Infact come to IAC meetings and debate. Enlighten the people.

Balaji said...

i was one of the organizers of saaku, and have participated in every public event organized by IAC in bangalore (martyrs day rally, interaction with lokayukta, dandi march). i'm all for reforms in anti-corruption laws and passing of the Lokpal Bill.

i'm merely pointing out that the Janlokpal Bill is flawed. and merely becos the intention is good, we can't be supporting whimsical demands of Anna Hazarre. hence i'm making a suggestion to IAC.

there is nothing wrong with lobbying. all NGOs are lobby groups. and i'm a proud member of many of them.

obviously i'm not comparing RSS, SIMI with IAC. i'm sure ppl can understand the point i'm making. that random people shouldn't be called to draft the treasury version of the bill. that will set a wrong precedent. BJP can then jolly invite RSS, VHP et al to draft the anti-cow slaughter bill. And Mulayam Singh et al can demand that SIMI be called in to draft civil codes.

btw, its MPs who have to pass the bill, whether its lokpal or janlokpal. IAC has to convince a majority of MPs. no shortcuts there. india is still a democracy. thank goodness.

i can give dozens of reasons why Janlokpal Bill is undemocratic. for starters, it demands that a random bunch of people form a collegium to appoint the Lokpal (10 members). there is no accountability to the people at all. Lokpal Bill provides for the appointment of the Lokpal (3 members) by a broad range of 10 democratically elected officers starting from ministers, leaders of opposition etc.

every constitutional post in the country has to be appointed by the elected representatives.

infact, I raised the issue of judicial accountability and Justice Santosh Hegde too agreed that there needs to be provisions other than impeaching to defrock judges accused of corruption. One of my questions was "why create another para-legal body, when judiciary itself is unaccountable to anyone. Note: impeachment is after the event."

its easy to be cynical and blame the politicians for everything. we deserve the parliamentarians we elect. lets respect that institution. if judges and some random activists were to run the country, it won't be a democracy anymore.

the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. not cynicism against elected representatives.

Anonymous said...

i dont know wha\t is going on.

faazil said...

purify the socirty by doing good.

shaikh faazil bagwan said...

"CRUSH CORRUPTION SAVE NATION"
jai hind...

FAAZIL BAGBAN said...

corruption is the tsunami in india, which destroy the development before being build.
corruption is cancer to the nation...
corruption is more dangerous than the prostitution.

FAAZIL BAGWAN said...

"HIV KILLS A PERSON BUT CORRUPTION TO THE WHOLE NATION"