Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lokpal - A Jokepal? Or Is it? And do you have to support?

To clear any ambiguity, the answer to the title is Yes, hell you have to support - both the cause and the means leave aside the man who's leading it. Its been over a year when i blogged last and i almost thought i gave it up when people forced me in writing this one with their obnoxious thoughts.

Well coming to the point, there are many to ponder or rather discuss. One of the many things i hear is that "Many who support Anna Hazare do not know what the Jan Lok Pal bill is about." I agree, all they know is that its against corruption and they need to be educated about it. But, I can vouch that not all of them supporting Anna Hazare are ignorant of the bill and I accept the arguable limitations in the implementation of the bill. Given all this, one should accept the fact whatever has been drafted is drafted for the good of the nation taking example from the ICAC of Hongkong. Well it worked there perfectly, didn't it?

Secondly, for all those who've read the bills and not supporting the same - "What are you doing by not supporting the current bill? Are you in support of the Govt Lok Pal Bill? NO. Well i'll tell you what you are doing (without knowing it yourself may be) - you just don't want anything to happen; Status quo is all you're looking for. You could neither propose a more feasible alternative nor support the current one. Finding something bad with the proposed version gives you the moral satisfaction of not doing anything about it. There is nothing worse than criticizing the current version when you cannot point out what can be done to improve it. This ain't a movie where you can write a critique and leave. Afterall, a nation is boiling over a cause whose repercussions are well known. This is a rare opportunity when a majority of voices are shouting for its freedom from corruption and don't spoil it with your needless and senseless arguments siting loopholes from the Jan Lok Pal bill. Those are essential conditions if you want to see this nation a corruption free state. Have some hope people. Being a pessimist all the time, thinking what if the people in Jan Lok Pal (if enacted) become corrupt is going to lead you nowhere. Atleast it could go no bad than the current system. Anything is better than the current state of affairs. You gotto to accept this - there is nothing more to lose.

The protest is for the primary issue - the what part, and we have much more time to discuss the secondary issue - the how part of the bill. I doubt if we could replicate these many voices again in the near foreseeable future and do something useful out of it, but still if you think sitting silent saying i support the cause but not the bill nor the means makes you more of an intellect, I can only pity you and my country which has more intellects who would rather sit and read rather than doing something about it.

Well I almost forgot the means part of it. How do you want them to protest instead. Is there a way to get your voice heard when all they want to do is shut you and your proposal down. The best way is to get the media up and that is what is being done. I heard a suggestion saying why doesn't he participate in elections and do something - i couldn't help but laugh myself at it. Even if he does that, what are the odds of he being able to get this thing he wanted from paper into action.

This is no longer a fight for Anna nor a mass gathering of uneducated protesters, but a fight for their country by the people who realized this may be their best chance to create a difference. And to clarify it again these protests are not in support of Anna, but in support of the Jan Lok Pal Bill.

With this, i conclude my speech part and go to participate in the protest being organized by my Institute.


Philosopher said...

I vehemently disagree. "Atleast it could go no bad than the current system."-- Justice Veram(Ex-justice of supreme court), who was selected by Anna, himself made objections to the Jan lokpal bill and said "this would foul with the basic structure of the constitution". It may be great on paper. How would you select the officials in Lokpal? One provision of Jan lokpal says "retired army personnel who are five star generals"-- the only living 5-star general is 92-year-old Marshal of the Air Force, Arjan Singh. There are no provisions to re-instate the officials who have been wrongly convicted. The Lokpal is ultimately appointed by President. And in the current situation where the president is facing charges, no one can say "Nothing can go worse." A president can make a wrong appointment and that dubious Lokpal could start investigation on virtually any citizen (as Suo Moto) and the poor citizen can't go back to his position after acquittal even if he's innocent.
And note you: I'm seeing this attitude among the protestors-- "If you're not with us, you're one of them". This is an example of forcing your opinion on others, unwillingness to consider others' viewpoints. Is this a hallmark of the 'democratic society' and "jan" in the Jan lokpal?

Áנคy Ŷשร said...

And note you: I'm seeing this attitude among the protestors-- "If you're not with us, you're one of them".//
That might be an obtrusive argument just to make you support by a few and shouldn't be generalized.
I do not agree with the above viewpoint either, but as i said in my post, if you are not among the protesters then you are passive.
It is clear you are not happy with the Jan Lok Pal Bill. Neither am I. I too want a few amendments in the coming versions of the draft. You don't really think this is the final draft, do you?
So what do you want to do anyway? Continue the same way, with the current levels of corruption? Obviously i assume, the corruption in the country had very minimal effect on you as an individual. Not the case with everyone dude. I might be harsh but i sincerely do not see any urge in you guys to stop it.
I see majority of the people disagreeing with the bill asking the same question "how do we select people?" Are you fine with everything else in the bill?
There are several ways to find people who have never been charged for corruption and i strongly believe this is not something which should be seen as a threat to democracy.
I dare the change, you fear the failure. #myopinion

Termix said...

I completely agree with you Ajay. The passive voters who do not come out and vote, and passive citizens who do not take a stand - they do not contribute to democracy. Democracy is people doing things, not people doing nothing.

@Philosopher - Its not only five star generals, but there is a separate search committee and a selection committee in Jan Lokpal. President only approves the selection.

Look at the governments version, it is the politicians who are in a majority in the selection committee. Remember CAG case recently where SC turned down his appointment? The same will happen with Govts lokpal appointments.

Philosopher said...

^ If the lokpal has the authority to start an inquiry on supreme court itself, how can supreme court take any action? In other words, nobody can initiate action against lokpal. "If you are not a protestor, you're passive and don't contribute to democracy." (simply said-- we consider your opinion as garbage.) How different is it from "If you're not one of us, you're one of them"?? And I have more issues, I stated only one. If democracy is people doing things, I've done my thing-- voiced my opinion. So in your opinion physicists and mathematicians are a bunch of self-obsessed idiots and actuarians and technicians are responsible for the scientific progress of the world?

Áנคy Ŷשร said...

1. Lokpal is just an investigating agency, it submits its report to SC
2. Your quote "if lokpal starts an inquiry against supreme court" makes me laugh.. inquiry will be done against individuals, not against a system
3. Any person can challenge any member in Lokpal and bring him to court
3. Donno why you brought Mathematicians and actuarians into this context.. i find NO relevance..
4. If you are so stuck on what people are calling you, let me tell you what others have told me which led me into writing this blog - "don't fall into the typical Indian mentality of following the crowd"; does this mean every damn guy who has read'heard abt the article should be against it? Don't i have a right to follow my own heart. Complaining like this is only making us deviate from the main issue.
And let me tell you what is happening with many of my friends - just because they want to be felt superior or at par with their bill disagreeing friends, they say no to the bill giving random false reasons like its a super cop etc.. Neither did they read the bill themselves nor there's an iota of truth in it. Thus my harsh tone both in the post and the comment.

Philosopher said...

I feel sorry for your lack of comprehension. When someone says "judiciary is in the purview", it means all persons in that system are. This is what I meant when 'supreme court is in the purview'. Physicists vs technicians --- compare with your view of 'passive thinkers' vs 'active do-ers'-- it is mere hubris to think that only doers are useful to the society. And w.r.t 'the urge to prove themselves intelligent/right'-- who do you think is in a urge to prove themselves right? Isn't it the 'civil society' which is proudly shouting from the roof-tops that only their version of the bill is right and no other person shall be entitled to a third opinion about this? (Given that the first option of govt bill is not acceptable)
supercop-- it has the powers to start an investigation, issue search warrants. Isn't this encroaching the powers of judiciary(again judiciary as a term means not a concrete entity-- it the directive of judge of a court of law, if you're confused)?
And regarding appeals on lokpal in a high court-- "Ordinarily, High Courts shall not stay the order" why is there a clause such as this in the text? And w.r.t a parliamentary committee on lokpal, the text says:
"A Parliamentary Committee shall do an annual appraisal of the functioning of Lokpal. The Lokpal shall submit a compliance report, mentioning detailed reasons where it does not accept the recommendations of this committee, to the Parliament."-- which clearly states the lokpal can refuse to comply with the parliament.
There are still people who have valid objections and for whom it is not fashionable to raise their points.

Áנคy Ŷשร said...

Honestly speaking I can only rephrase my arguments from the above comments as they answer all your queries. Firstly, just to clear again, yes all the people in judiciary will be under the eyes of lokpal and can be charged for corruption if found out.. but still your question "If the lokpal has the authority to start an inquiry on supreme court itself, how can supreme court take any action?" is not making any sense to me (pardon my lack of comprehension). There are always more people in the system (in this case SC)who can look into the charges, isn't it?

If parliament and lokpal are two independent bodies then of course it can refuse the recommendations by the same. Isn't it obvious? If you don't want it, and are doubtful of its own existence, the question again boils down to whether you can trust the lokpal on its own or not?
If you can trust a govt. by voting once every 5 years, then you can trust the lokpal too (please don't tell me govt. is being monitored by opposition). You can trust corrupted ministers and MPs with criminal records but not the person who can be a part of an open lokpal. You don't know if you can complain about a corrupted high profile person now, nor where to report and how to report, but you are worried if the lokpal will lead in overdoing the same.

As my friend once said "You won't gain any new insights by commenting on a facebook argument, You won't convert a person by discussing semantics, You won't get out of this by calming people down with a diplomatic comment, You're wasting your time if you pick and choose. Take some time, and find out what the fuck you believe in. And then take a call. It'll have the potential to fuck things royally, and maybe it will. But don't you think it's worth a shot?"

PS: End of discussion