Yeh public bhi kya-kya kahati hai ! ( How to deal with corruption: Public speak)
A journey in the local city transport bus can be more instructive than the moderated superficial debates on television channels on subjects of current national and international affairs. I happened to witness one such event in a DTC(Delhi Transport Bus) on 3rd August 2011. The whispers between two gentlemen regarding the Lokpal Bill ( Ombudsman Bill) to deal with cases of corruption in the country soon became a topic of spirited public interaction. People seemed to be highly agitated at the cool treatment meted out by the government to the menace of corruption and sought something demonstrably effective. The majority seemed to support the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by Anna Hazare and his team of Civil society Members. But it was not 100%, as some ministers would have wanted it to be to be worthy of their consideration!! In fact, even the Civil Society Bill seemed to fall short of public expectations. Someone referred to the Hosni Mubarak trial in Cairo, Egypt. He suggested that all the Rajas/Maharajas/Kings of corruption be brought to the court in a metal cage and in chains to face trial in the same manner. There emerged an instant unanimity among the active participants in the discussion, who were in favour of the toughest measures to deal with the corrupt.
A new entrant from the next bus stop became a little curious about the ongoing discussion. It took him a few minutes before he was able to appreciate the full import of the recommendation of chaining and bringing the culprits in a metal cage to the court. His reaction made everyone wonderstruck for some time. He was opposed to metal cage even as he agreed with chaining the corrupt the way Hosni Mubarak was chained. His logic was that metal cages will lead to another historic scam. They will need to be imported. If simple toilet rolls can be purchased for more than rupees 800 apiece for the commonwealth games and coffins for the Kargil martyrs ten times their local price, the metal cages will become a heavy drain on the national exchequer. It will lead to stinking CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General of India) report, hype in the media, constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to examine the report, action by the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission), investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and court cases. Ultimately, the charged officials may plead in the court that the case will meet the same fate as the Bofors Gun scam case! So, instead of suffering all such futile but costly procedure, it would be desirable not to ask for metal cages to cage the lions of corruption. It would be better if they are left to themselves and roam freely within the jail premises, including the jail superintendents’ air conditioned comfortable rooms.
I could not bring myself to accept the logic of this argument. I felt that the fear that the purchase or fabrication of metal cages will cause corruption of high magnitude, should not deter the government from passing a law to make it compulsory to bring the corrupt to the court in a metal cage. I am convinced that it will deter the corrupt from indulging in corruption nonchalantly. To reduce the margins of corruption, these cages may not be as brightly shining as the one used to bring Hosni Mubarak. They can be “modest”, made of rusted iron and without any paint. The shining metal cages are bound to enhance the reputation of the corrupt in the esteem of the general public, who will mistake it for silver cages befitting the status of the corrupt, such as the Prime Minister or Minister or top bureaucrats or business tycoons etc. In order to eliminate any scope for misunderstanding and mistaking the shine of the cage as a symbol of prestige and privilege of the charged dignitary, it must be ordinary iron cage. That will cut them to size instantly. These dignitaries can take anything easily but would not suffer caging. They are lions: lions of the jungle of corruption (that is what governance in India has been reduced to by the gangs of the corrupt).
Any government that is sincere about rooting out corruption from India, shall act fast in implementing this suggestion. It involves no bilateral treaty, as was pleaded in the case of black money stashed in foreign banks. Nor it is a violation of any international law. As far as is known, it is also not covered by any IPR (Intellectual Property Right) or patent.
Good practices are for everyone to adopt without any reservations. Go ahead India and haul your corrupt to the court in chains in a metal cage exactly as they do to their criminals in Egypt !!!