Lokpal – report-generator or jail-sender
My previous post might have been misconstrued as blind support to the elected few.
Lets consider what the elected few have been up to lately :
The maximum sentence even if everything proven in corruption cases is only 7 years. No need to declare bankruptcy or have property attached.
CBI produces a weak chargesheet. The only person from the political side named is Mr A Raja. It flies against all commonsense that his party will allow him to keep all proceeds and not use it for the party.
Sibal and Co agree to a Jan Lok Pal
DOT silently opposes cancellation of the licenses. There is simply no outrage or urgency to recover national losses – even though BSNL and MTNL are being run aground. BSNL loss is 5,000 Cr loss while operating in a very lucrative industry.
In all the above cases, we cant accept these malafide actions just because they have been perpetrated by the elected. Unconditional subservience to the acts of elected humans is not democratic – suggesting and creating a public demand for strong checks is. This is where the Ombudsman can play a vital role.
In this post, I give my humble suggestion to the Lokpal drafting committee members.
With more power comes more baggage
Why a report generator lokpal is better than a jail-sender lokpal.
It is important to understand where the difference of opinion lies.
- Do we need a civilian ombudsman at all ? I assume most of us say YES to this, because we all welcome a check to the elected running riot. Nothing undemocratic about that.
- How much power should the civilian ombudsman have ? This is where we differ.
Here is what I would like to see in a Lokpal which are not in the government draft
- Receive complaints from public
- Able to subpoena and investigate
- No sanction required to summon any elected representative
- Produce a report and submit to the Lok / Vidhan Sabha & put it on website for social media to pick up
- Move on to the next case
This is a major climbdown from what Anna Hazare and company want.
What is wrong with Lok Pal with Killer Shark like powers ?
My opposition to a high power Killer Shark Lokpal is rooted in my belief that it cannot be independent of the primary social justice platform. However, any association of people are expected to satisfy the protectors of this platform. Even worse, its findings will be repudiated with contempt unless the composition of the committee is to the satisfaction of various benefit protectors. The more power the Lok Pal has the more it has to conform.
It is not the end of the story.
- Constant and on-going negotiations for tweaking
- There will be nominees from minority, caste, and race based groups. Once selected, these nominees will naturally be conscious.
- A position in the powerful Lok Pal will turn into yet another adhoc benefit and strengthen the political benefit protector even more.
- This will lead to even more pressure not to measure the benefit regime – because Lok Pal positions are now added to the heap of stakes.
A Lok Pal which only produces a report will have far more headroom.
A shark like Lok Pal must win a beauty contest
There has been extended commentary about the way Anna Hazare has been railroaded because he said this about the Gujarat CM. This led to this strong condemnation from civil society.
“We, academics, activists, artists and intellectuals strongly condemn the recently reported statement made by Anna Hazareji in which he has brazenly endorsed Narendra Modi, a politician who not only symbolizes the politics of division but unconstitutional governance. For the veteran anti-corruption social activist, …,” the activists said in a joint statement.
Source : Anna Hazare condemned – 2 circles
Lets leave Modi alone for a moment. What amused me reading reactions to Anna Hazare’s fast was the opposition to the mother India banner behind the fasting leader.
Consider this reaction :
Well, this throws up more disturbing concerns. Physically he conducted this prayer in the backdrop of a buxom picture of Bharat Mata bejeweled to the hilt including the proverbial crown standing on a white flex board Indian map!
Maybe it is mere coincidence that many of the faces that have appeared in this drama have a Magsaysay award tucked under their belt (and a sacred thread over their shoulder).
Source : Blog post – Of a few, by a few – Bobby Kunhu http://www.countermedia.in/?p=663
Manu Joseph was also amused by the “shapely mother india”.
azare, who is on a raised platform, has acquired many of the mannerisms of Mohandas Gandhi, including a thoughtful tilt of his head. Behind him are images of Gandhi and a very shapely Mother India.
You may be stunned at such an attack on caste and religious basis for a mere hunger strike. It is not like there was an image of mother Durga and the protesters were made to chant Durga slokas. Even such token mother India imagery, we consider innocent and secular kosher is not acceptable to many in this country. This is just a trial show of what is to come once the Lokpal is set up. Many activists and leftists are prudently waiting by the sidelines biding their time. Once the bill passes, the hope is to appropriate it and mold it using the old primary social justice die. Why oppose it now and deprive yourself of a useful tool which is certainly yours ?
The more power to Lok Pal the more self conscious it must be. It is not enough to satisfy the majority, they must align with the sensibilities of the elite and left liberals.