How to go against corruption?

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Amitabh: Including Why No Lokpal : Yes, we all feel that the existing organizations/Institutions have not come up to the mark but which new organization has? Secondly, we need new organizations only when they r not existing previously, in one form or another. But what is the logic for having a new Institution just for the heck of it?

Other than duplicating the efforts, it will also prove detrimental by not fulfilling the raised expectations and bringing in more gloom. What is it that Lokpal offers that is not already there? Having thoroughly gone through the various Drafts of the Jan Lokpal Bill, I would say there is hardly anything new that this Institution would be offering as is not being offered by a host of Government, semi-Government and autonomous agencies already. At the same time, in all places where it wants to club powers, it is not only unconstitutional but also dangerous, completely against the basic premises of democratic value of check and balance.

So, what is the solution-

1. For one thing the solution is not at all simple

2. There can't be a simple solution to such a complex problem

3. Corruption is not an external disease; it is nicely built in our system our organization, our very being- something intrinsic

4. Corruption is not limited to a particular group or activities, be it politicians (often the first to be denigrated), corporate world, educational institutions, media and even the so-called civil societies.

5. Hence, we can't give the work of exorcising corruption to any particular organization

6. It needs to be a shared work

7. Each organization and each establishment already existing will have to be given its due importance

8. Instead of thinking bad about them and treating them as failed or useless, we need firstly to empower them and secondly to make them feel important and honoured. As long as we don't give respect to other's views and don't respect their existence, we are bound to get poor results

9. Yes, we need Committees, working groups, individuals, associations, platforms (better if they are under the aegis and supervision of the Government) which shall be assigned individual tasks- some to look into the various Acts, Statutes like the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, CrPC and the Evidence Act (four of the main related enactments) along with the Income Tax Act, Customs Act, Excise Act, Sales Tax Act, Anti-smuggling Acts etc and others to devise procedural measures to implement each of the Government policies in this regards, by suitably amending and empowering the existing structures

10. When each of the expert team has made recommendations, let them be suitably incorporated and amended to suit the requirements.

11. There is a need to quicken the investigations of the Police department. Though the time-frame for investigations is prescribed, in many cases, they are not adhered to. There is a need to incorporate methods so that these time-frames are rigorously complied with

12. No less important is the way the time frame needs to be adhered in the Courts, right from the Lower courts (the District and Session Court) to even the Hon’ble Supreme Courts because a delay in each of these stages is directly harmful and defeating to the entire cause.

13. This compliance with time-frame is completely lacking in our judicial system and it needs to be incorporated.

14. My personal view is that sticking to time-frame must be made a priority over all other issues because this has somehow come to acquire the center-stage of all the judicial process’s outcome. When I read about a Kodku judgement in Giridih, Jharkhand where the ex Jharkhand CM Shibu Soren was acquitted after possibly 38 years of judicial process, I thought it would have been much better if the same was done in two-five years.

15. None of these can be achieved by an Institution like Lokpal because it will take no powers of the Court, right from the Lower Court to the Supreme Court. Thus, under the extra-ordinary powers under Article 226 and Article 32 of the Constitution, the High Court and the Supreme Court will still have all the powers to entertain any act of the Lokpal which will only add up to the already overburdened judicial burden. Whatever initiative is taken by Lokpal will come to the review of these bodies (which is correct as well, because this is the fundamental process of Check and balance of power), bringing the situation to naught

16. While we need all these individual changes of honest and sincere nature, we don’t need a Lokpal to add up to our woo, because the Institution will soon turn into any other Institution because-
a. It will replicate power position
b. It will be extra-Constitutional
c. It will create further confusion in the existing set of administrative set-up
d. It is being envisaged as having too much concentration of power, which is completely against the fundamental principle of Check and balance
e. It will involve public exchequer without any substantive return

17. Thus, instead of another new organization, the need is-
a. To strengthen each and every existing structure
b. Suitable amendments in Executive law
c. More importantly, suitable amendments in procedural laws
d. Be pragmatic and grounded to the realities of Indian situations instead of deliberately and intentionally talking on hypothetical planes knowing them fully well to be unachievable

18. The administrative reforms can only be a holistic, systematic and well-concerted one and can’t be in the piece-meal manner by imposing an extraneous Institution

19. Finally, we must all be thankful to each and every individual who has brought the issue of Corruption to the center-stage, making the entire nation rise to it (if at least momentarily) but shall also be wary of their words about some kind of short-cut revolution because this deep-rooted malaise needs a consistent and persistent measure (including some of the suggestive measures presented here) and just can’t be washed away thru some magic band, be it Lokpal or anything else. Fighting corruption is a brick by brick affair and not a song and dance matter.

I particularly emphasize this fact because we as leaders shall always be honest to ourselves and to those who believe in us.

Amitabh
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The author is an IPS officer and the views expressed here are his personal views.


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