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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Lokpal Bill minus any bitter pill. Get it.

Since childhood I’ve always been exposed to the fact that nothing happens without a reason or cause. So when corruption happens around me and across India, I do consider it’s happening for a cause only.

However, before the introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill (citizen’s ombudsman bill) to me by none other than Mr. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, as well as by the UPA Govt., the reason behind corruption has never been clear to me.

In fact, I’m still not very sure why corruption happens. May be it happens so that we get an Anna – the second Gandhi; we get our second Independence via him; we get a chance to fast in a public place like a maidan or park; we get to visit Tihar jail; we get to disobey the Parliament; we get to boost up the candle industry through our candle march; we get to help the nation save its power through our lights-off; we get to know ‘the art of leaving’ in women’s attire; we get to walk miles after miles in search of a rape victim; we get to have a Prime Minister who functions playing dumb charades; we get to have a Raja who steals; we get to have a man who suffers from dementia to confuse between his personal wealth and the Commonwealth; we get to receive the tag of thugs and become subjects to lathi charge and tears gas during our peaceful protest… and the list goes on.

Whatever it is, from the Lokpal Bill, I have come to know that it’s the key to clean corruption off our society. And if it’s done, India would be a corruption-free country, where no politicians, bureaucrats, govt. officials, senior members of the judiciary and the likes can afford to be corrupted or corrupt anyone else.

For, thanks to this bill, if turned into law, whoever is corrupted or practising corruption would be punished within two years from the date of a complaint against him while the judicial process to convict him will get over maximum by one year or so.

From receiving complaints to finding someone guilty to inflicting the punishment upon him, everything would be done by an autonomous body, just like the election commission or the Supreme Court, but comprising the representatives from the civil-society, the parliament and the judicial authorities. Plus, this body will also include the anti-corruption branch of CBI into its system and operations.

As a result, a different judicial mechanism will be functional to facilitate people at large across India to get justice against the corrupted persons in power which in the process will ensure all of us achieve a new country full of dignity, honesty, trust and transparency. That’s been somewhat missing to us hitherto despite our Independence in 1947.

But, to make things happen to build a utopia, as expected and envisaged; the bill should be made into law.

So, Mr. Anna Hazare led civil-society made a draft of the bill and gave to the UPA Govt. and wanted the law to be in action immediately once the study and review of a parliamentary committee was over.

In the proposed bill, as drafted by Anna and the civil society’s representatives, it was mentioned that the Prime Minister, as well as senior members of the judiciary got to be included in the ombudsman’s remit.

Which the Govt. refused to accept and even after nine meetings held between the civil-society and the Govt., no such positive and productive conclusion came out.

Whereas the Govt. said it incorporated 34 out of the 40 principles of the Mr. Hazare made bill in the proposed anti-corruption law which is now being studied by a parliamentary committee.

The Govt. also added that on the issue of the PM and other senior judicial members’ inclusions under the jurisdiction of the law stemmed from the Lokpal Bill, Anna was behaving adamant and coercing the Govt. by saying, “Either my law or no law,” and going on hunger strikes.

On August 16, 2011, when Anna along with his supporters began his fast, Delhi Police took him and his supporters into custody and sent Anna to Tihar Jail. This evoked protest across India; united the anti-UPA parties; did let media go clairvoyant about the demise of democracy and the rise of the UPA tyranny and a probable Pink revolution to power in centre.

While that was the day’s affair, the evening came to an end with yet another candle march at Gurgaon or perhaps in some other parts of India – not to my knowledge though.

In between, there was no shortage of tweets or facebook wall posts from different corners and with varied opinions and a majority of celebrities from Bollywood was observed to have extended supports to Anna and the Lokpal Bill.

It was heartening to see even those Bollywood Stars who had once or twice been detained at Mumbai airport for carrying undeclared luxury goods or jewelleries or had made their marks in media, mostly for wrong reasons, were offering their full hand supports to Anna and his second freedom fight for a fast paced Lokpal Bill.

Amid such situations, Anna just denied to relent and leave Tihar Jail which also witnessed that Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar reached there in flesh and blood with their ‘maha atmas’ i.e. larger than life spirits to get beside Anna.

The haggle begins and is still on while Anna is not willing to give up on his hunger strikes. As usual the UPA Govt. remains baffled and finding ‘foreign hands’ behind Anna’s agitations. (God knows who shakes hands more often than not with foreign delegates, Anna or the PM or other members of the Parliament!)

Anyway, now as it stands, the focal point of the bargain is the venue (or may be even menu) where Anna should commence his next episode of the mega ‘fast of fury’. Because it’s really important to keep the protest on, as in present context, a fast is more important than the Lokpal Bill so as to prove the UPA Govt. is inept in centre and patronising corruption and should be replaced by BJP and its RSS feed and Bajrang Dal.

Also, we can’t deny that BJP has already proven its anti-corruption stance by asking Yeddy to leave his CM’s chair in Karnataka, so the party should be rewarded for its effort by all of us in Lok Sabha.

They might break another mosque or build a temple inside your bedroom or expect you to be Virat (BIG) Hindu (if not Kohli) but that’s a different issue and not falling in the purview of corruption; so relax!

Now are we fasting for BJP?

Oh! NO! Not really.

We are fasting and protesting for the Lokpal Bill and I feel we might actually make it possible in the following ways –

a) Let’s have two sets of draft: one made by the civil-society and the other by the Govt.

b) There should be a governing body or an autonomous committee which will function like the election commission

c) The body may comprise the members of the Parliament, of the judiciary, of the police and of the civil-society. The members would be chosen by public opinion only

d) Let there be an election or contest through pure vote casting between the two sets of draft. The voting can be done online and through phone calls and SMS. In the remote villages the Panchayats can organise the election. The governing body will make sure there’s no manipulation in the voting process

e) None can vote more than once or change his opinion

f) The votes will be counted to see which draft wins

g) The winning draft will be reviewed by the governing committee properly minus any bias and the committee can also make a few changes – if required in the winning draft

h) The draft would be sent to the Supreme Court for its order to the Parliament to make the drafted and winning bill into law immediately and apply the same through the committee which already conducted the draft election

NOTE: Nonetheless a guilty party should approach High Courts once and the Supreme Court once to challenge the governing committee’s decision of punishment. It’s necessary because no corruption is done single-handedly; hence the punishment shouldn’t also be meted out to a convict one-sidedly.

Finally, if we are really serious about the Lokpal Bill and a corruption free country, I think we sincerely try to do those things only which bring us results, actually, minus any ruckus or just razzmatazz.

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