India – Jan Lokpal Bill (Anti-Corruption Law)

August 20, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

The standoff between civil society leader Shri Anna Hazare and Central government through State police concluded with the agreement on peaceful and non-violent assembly at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

Civil Society leader Shri Anna Hazare and team are expected to continue their peaceful rally on Ramlila ground, New Delhi.

Shri Anna Hazare has decided to fast during the 14 days public gathering allowed by law enforcement authority.

The overwhelming national response from all walks of life is indicative of the urgency to legislate Jan Lokpal bill liberating Indian society from systemic corruption.

Indian citizens have demonstrated extraordinary patriotism and unity towards the common goal for corruption affects the entire population promoting criminality among those at the epicenter.

With bribery and tax evasions rampant alongside kickbacks received from lucrative deals and contracts in both private and public sector,

The national treasury is drained leaving the middle class, lower income and the poor – the worst victims of the epidemic.

Society’s upper class exchange favors given the massive disclosed and undisclosed income from different sources not to mention ties with the political class and corporate dealings facilitating bribery as the standard business practice across the spectrum.

Furthermore bribery is also money laundering as the wealthy and business ventures convert black money into white through bribes.

Therefore Jan Lokpal bill would be more effective deterring the art of giving and receiving bribes in any manner i.e. cash or kind.

Political elections are well known for bribing voters with cash and other incentives basically buying votes with illegal means and counterfeit money supply as found in recent Tamil Nadu polls.

Such blatant abuse of power by the ruling and opposition political factions void democracy and must be addressed in the Jan Lokpal bill curbing anti-democratic strategies by political contenders in the state and national elections.

It is important for election committee to be A-political in order to act decisively against all political parties’ undemocratic methods adopted to win elections and debar candidates as well as parties in violation of democratic rules.

Corruption begins from the top bottom considering the political clout emboldens the lawmakers to be the lawbreakers trickling down to the basic service provider.

Civil Society momentum should be wisely used not only to fight against corruption but also two other ingrained social carcinogens  – nepotism and cronyism that deprives nation from being represented on merit, commitment and integrity besides eliminating opportunity for the marginalized demography.

Youth movement is highly energized and rightfully so for they are the leaders in succession forced to bear the burden of the status quo.

The country with tremendous potential, innovative talent and intellectual ability is constricted in outperformance on the international domain largely due to prevalent corruption, nepotism and cronyism widespread in the system.

Political field in India is dominant with the affluent and celebrities from the entertainment industry seeking symbolic status to maintain prominence while the remaining majority suppresses their political ambitions due to open corruption culture demanding huge compromise on ethics.

With money power playing significant role in politics worldwide, the average citizen is bereft of genuine representation on issues concerning their daily struggle for existence.

The hesitation to discuss and approve Jan Lokpal bill in Parliament is the acknowledgment of politics preventing accountability despite national image tarnished by erupting scandals at state and national level hindering economic progress in the cross-sections of the society.

India’s GDP growth at 8.8% largely benefits the rich with over 80% of population barely sharing the prosperity evident in the glaring economic reality prompting overwhelming support for Shri Anna Hazare’s call to eradicate corruption.

Hoarding money in Swiss bank accounts apart from several unlawful involvements against national interest is not the reason for electing officials in a democracy.

It is poignant to highlight that Parliament members would not be able to execute their power without the electorate electing them to office.

Legislation is carried out in Parliament.

However, ignoring republic will on core national issue viz. corruption having crippled billion lives is a testimony to morality and ethics ominously abstained in politics.

Otherwise Jan Lokpal bill would have been passed honoring citizens’ quest for a corrupt free society.

The elitists’ hypocritical remarks against true patriot Shri Anna Hazare is yet another example of the expanding gulf between the privileged and disenfranchised in the growing socio-economic disparity.

As for the claim that Parliamentarians know better than people and civil society leadership – confirms supremacy reminiscent of pre-Independence India.

If Parliamentary power were so diligent then it would have reflected in the infra structure, improvement in the millions of lives living in abject poverty and led the world in environmental goals.

Furthermore it is asserted that Shri Anna Hazare followers are ignorant of the Jan Lokpal bill and simply contributing to extreme optimism without proper knowledge or understanding.

Again this misconception about the mass movement constituting statistics rather than comprehending substance is snobbery – the remnant of British Raj resurfacing for political gains denying freedom from corruption.

University students, Professionals and media familiar with Jan Lokpal bill content and the distinction from Government bill could undertake the task in explaining to civil society in layman terms for their information.

Then people could intensify pressure on the Government to pass the bill with no more procrastination.

Shri Anna Hazare is into 5th day of his fasting and Government’s reluctance through delay tactics signify the real intention to block Jan Lokpal bill at the detriment of civil society leader’s health creating unnecessary tension in the country.

Government Lokpal bill apart from many conflicting thoughts and preventions essentially provide impunity to political figures and judiciary with a buffer zone from corruption.

Shri Anna Haxare team request for CBI’s (Central Bureau of Investigation) anti-corruption wing to function as independent investigation unit requires massive public drive due to government reservations on Jan Lokpal legislation.

The clock is ticking for the Government and debates on avoiding instead of accepting the robust Jan Lokpal bill is a political maneuver having direct impact on the critical situation of Shri Anna Hazare’s indefinite fasting,

Not withstanding the ultimate political disaster awaiting the nay Sayers in the next elections.

Civil society must not give up their support to the extraordinary pledge by Shri Anna Hazare and team against corruption.

Please continue the peaceful and non-violent march until Jan Lokpal bill becomes the law of the land releasing the nation from the shackles of corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

It is crucial to step up citizens’ demand in expediting Jan Lokpal legislation and end Shri Anna Hazare’s fast.

Is there any honorable Parliament member willing to sacrifice their health for national cause?

Fasting for days to succeed in national mission benefitting all is Shri Anna Hazare’s exemplary dedication to the nation the leader has served throughout his life.

The nation salutes leaders like Shri Anna Hazare for the guidance to the powerful and powerless on righteous path by adhering to Gandhian principles in non-violent civil disobedience.

Mahatma Gandhi founded Congress Party and all other political factions are urged to pass the popular Jan Lokpal bill and peacefully resolve the ongoing people vs. government dispute.

Shri Anna Hazare terminating fast upon successful legislation is now dependent on the government and the opposition in both houses of Parliament.

Good Luck! To civil society, Shri Anna Hazare and team in the victory on anti-corruption law to recover and retain national wealth.   It would be the cornerstone for people power in restoring democratic rule.

Jai Hind!

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant




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