India – Jan Lokpal Legislation Victory

August 27, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

It is exhilarating to witness People power prevail in a democracy.

With more challenges ahead, citizens’ experiences in daily life due to political and social ill practices cannot be ignored having greater impact on the society’s core functionality.

Hence it is imperative to reflect on the course in Jan Lokpal arduous journey that led to republic legitimacy.

The traumatic path to Jan Lokpal legislation could have been resolved in a timely manner.

Starting with the government initial decision to reject Jan Lokpal –

It did not surprise the nation especially the victims of corruption, cronyism and nepotism rampant in politics and economic sector.

The setbacks during the popular Jan Lokpal passage deserve national attention.

It was clear that political establishment was not prepared to honor the republic will and subverting Parliamentary process to protect the respective political and personal agenda.

Today, the Parliamentarians are steadfast in claiming that the citizens in democracy must respect the Parliament system, democratic institution and constitution  – when none of them would be relevant without the republic.

As asserted by the political power and their emissaries, the civil society has not encroached upon the Parliamentary procedures, constitution or the democratic institution’s sanctity.

In fact, the Parliamentarian precedence evolving into a tradition among the political class in direct violation of all these institutions evident in the members’ explosive corruption scandals and political baggage contributed to the birth of Jan Lokpal bill.

Parliament in contemporary politics is considered exclusive to the legislators barring citizens’ voice in the policy making directly affecting the common man in corruption crippled society largely emanating from the lawmakers upholding them above the law.

If the legislators were to abide by the same constitution and Parliamentary rule in respect for democracy the status quo would be envy of the world and Shri Anna Hazare’s crusade been fruitful without Satyagraha viz. fasting.

Beginning with Jan Lokpal bill – the opponents condemned civil society as impatient, disrespectful and pressuring the honorable Parliamentarians on Jan Lokpal bill.

The reality being – Jan Lokpal legislation had been requested with utter reverence for the Parliament, constitution and democratic rule of law in hope and extraordinary patience over four decades only to be declined and distorted as intervention with Parliamentary affairs.

Any reasonable mind would detect the glaring differences between civil society and political powers approach on national issue i.e. corruption debilitating human conditions on the main street,

Not to mention the national treasury drained with the widening gulf in economic disparity dragging the disadvantaged to the streets which was denigrated as Street Politics.

Again the government tactics since Shri Anna Hazare revived the plea on this issue was loud and clear – protecting the corruption culture embedded in the political system.

The political class and their supporters ought to rewind the episodes related to anti-corruption rally and,

Compare civil society adherence to law against the government’s iron-fist crack down on peaceful participants showing no mercy on the civilians with the only intention being to disperse and demolish the anti-corruption movement for obvious reasons that prolonged Shri Anna Hazare’s fasting until positive outcome.

On the disrespectful conduct – Introspection would reveal the unsubstantiated corruption charges, character defamation eventually ending in unlawful arrests of 74 years old Gandhian by the ruling authority.

The rest of the team persistently targeted and jailed for lending their support to anti-corruption law.

Some Parliamentarians and surrogates denounce the civil society initiative to legislate Jan Lokpal as interference in Parliamentary role taking no responsibility for their dismissal of people suffering.

Democratic societies around the world pass laws addressing citizens’ social, economic and political problems flowing in from people through their representatives or petitions and more commonly as a last resort in street protest or demonstrations to government’s disregard for their miseries.

Civil rights ranging from women’s right to vote, anti-dowry act, invalidating outcasts custom…and many social injustices – the people bring the matter to the Parliament and Congressional focus for legislation.

Then it becomes incumbent upon the legislators as the elected representatives to respect and resolve the issues in public and national interest.

Therefore, the political powers position towards Jan Lokpal as an intrusion in Parliament procedure was deficient in humility and neglectful in Parliamentary duty towards their constituents and the country.

The lawmakers’ self-assigned privileged status with grand impunity against criminal activities in national detriment is contradictory to the Parliament, constitutional and democratic values only enforced upon the law-abiding civil society.

Regarding the government’s proposal in elevating Lokpal as a constitutional body in semblance to Electoral commission is symbolic rather than pragmatic for the measures eventually require Parliamentary legislation to contain unlawful activities undermining democracy.

For instance – Cash for votes by all political parties during the latest Tamil Nadu polls extending beyond the standard electoral fraud had involved counterfeit money supply with the trail linked to possible terror organizations threatening national security.

Similarly the current Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram declared winner after losing election.

The electoral result disputed in the High Court pending differed judiciary action till the Minister’s term in office is over – grants exclusive status to those in power.

Mr. P. Chidambaram vigorously opposed the judiciary inclusion under Lokpal ambit.

These are mere flavors to the cocktail of national issues with explicit bias to the powerful in the society.

In the Parliamentary Proceedings – the scandal related to Cash for votes during Vote of Confidence survival implicating high profile members on all sides among series of unconstitutional events beckoning transparency and accountability to strengthen democratic rule of law – is a forlorn conclusion facilitating pervasive corruption.

The indifference in the application of law between people and power (politics, economics and social domain) is yet another hindrance to fairness and equality weakening democracy.

Throughout anti-corruption rally – the government prerogative to execute excess use of force against unarmed civilians attending peaceful assembly causing no harm to public convenience or safety upheld as a necessity,

While raising objection to the peaceful picketing outside Members of Parliament with incriminating record and actively engaged in the prevention of anti-corruption law.

Indian democracy has a unique opportunity to lead the world in resolving national and international crises and leaders like Shri Anna Hazare emerging from humble background raised national consciousness in implementing the long overdue change in the society.

Jan Lokpal legislation is a cornerstone in the struggle for political, social and economic development.

Congratulations! To Shri Anna Hazare and team for the outstanding dedication to national cause,

The honorable members of Parliament for their recognition of republic rule in a democracy and,

Citizens of India and abroad for their solidarity in the historic legislation.

Jai Bharat!

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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