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Lokpal Not Needed

Why should we add another bottleneck to transparency in public administration by creating an independent Lokpal?

Who will watch the Lokpal?

Why can’t the objective be achieved by every supervisory authority keeping a Lokpal oversight over the public servants under its charge?

No Lokpal can eradicate or root out corruption from government bodies as the honest supervisors can do.

We are guilty of killing all our institutions and the strong oversight mechanism inbuilt in the system and are now crying over it.

The upheaval, whether in government or society, schools or hospitals, places of worship or market, is due to the death of every single attribute of our cultural identity.

Was India ever known as a country of crooks, criminals or the corrupt?

Have we not been priding in singing paeans of our bravery, chivalry, sacrifice, integrity, honesty, commitment, loyalty, love, affection, bonding, patriotism, prowess, knowledge, enterprising nature, family, society, religion etc.?

Have we not been guided by the principles of “Dharma”? Why have the words depicting these attributes of the Indian society disappeared from our dictionary? Do we not need them anymore? Or have they been replaced by words that nullify every single thought contained in these words? Why do we not use powerful words, aphorisms and metaphors like Dharma, Rajdharma, Grahastha Dharma, Guru Dharma, Shishya Dharma, Pitra Dharma, Matri Dharma, Putra Dharma, Putri Dharma, Pati Dharma, Patni Dharma, Bhratra Dharma, Bhratri Dharma, Sant-Asant, Sadhu-Asadhu, Sajjan-Asajjan,  Mitra-Amitra, Adhi-Vyadhi, Yog-Niyog etc.in our daily conversations, social interactions, academic debates, public discourses, administration and governance?

Only a Sociologist will tell that they are more than mere words- they are doctrines for good living written in simple words. It would take dozens of books and thousands of pages to pass this knowledge from generation to generation in such easy and inexpensive ways.

Only a jurist will be able to explain that wasteful expenditure on policing or security can be greatly reduced if individual and social conduct can be cast in patterns of these principles.

Only a legislator will be able to convince the public that once people are sensitised to their duties as good citizens by observing these simple rules, the Statute Book can be kept lean.

Millions of men and women can be seen in the morning taking their children to the bus stop to put their wards in the school bus and take them back home in the afternoon. Still the children are not safe and parental anxiety bothers them all the time.

Ridiculing Satyamev Jayate or Athiti Devo Bhava is easy, but can someone explain whether violation of these principles is not visited by punishment or goes scot free? Is it not a pre-condition that the guest will have due regards for the dignity and honour of the host? Can a guest expect to be treated well if s/he indulges in inappropriate behavior? Are Indians allowed to indulge in inappropriate behavior when they visit foreign countries? Can the Indian guest demand to eat pork at the house of his Muslim host? Can s/he take out a Morcha (agitation e.g. candle march to protest) in a Muslim country where eating pork is banned? How many Indians have the right to freedom of speech in the Muslim countries, communist countries, America or Europe? Landlords in the UK have instructed their estate agents not to rent out their properties to Indians because they make curry and its smell makes everyone in the building and neighbourhood sick.

How many Indians from one state can freely criticize the cultural symbols of another state while temporary residents of that state? Indian society has controlled corruption by showing open contempt for the corrupt. No Lokpal can exercise that kind of power as social denunciation and boycott. Let us, therefore, revive and promote our trust in honest public service or Dharma.

With over 3.5 crore cases pending in courts and dozens of tribunals, it is bad governance to load the public with with another unproductive institution called the Lok Pal. It needs to be remembered that the public spends more than 40% of income on litigation and health. The tax payers money is not meant to be spent on such unproductive institutions. The CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) has grossly failed to punish the corrupt and promote honesty in public services. What better evidence of it than the recent Punjab National Bank fraud of more than Rs 11,300 crore by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi even as one of the three members of the CVC is a banker? He did nothing in any case, be it the Rs 9000 crore fraud by Mallya of Kingfisher Airlines  or others. Public money has been wasted on this huge establishment for more than half a century. Votaries of Lok Pal don’t even know that every public office, public sector bank, public sector enterprise has a Chief Vigilance Officer to ensure corruption does not enter its functioning. They get complaints. Still the culprits escape to foreign countries and lead a life of luxury. What will a single Lok Pal do? It would be public interest to drop the very idea of Lok Pal and make the CVC do its duty honestly and with dedication. The CVC should not be manned by retired public servants- they should all be serving personnel, so that they do their duty honestly for fear of punishment for acts of delinquency or irregularity or generosity at the cost of clean governance or public exchequer.

 

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