World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


INDIA: Election but a ritual in nation lacking rule of law

April 10, 2014

INDIA: Election but a ritual in nation lacking rule of law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic exercise of the world.' Contestants are in what may be termed as a lobbying overdrive. Many are touting maintenance of law and order as priority. None of the contestants have, however, emphasised the importance of the rule of law.

Law and order and the rule of law are terms used interchangeably in India. This is because not many citizens and this includes academics and social activists know the true meaning of the two terms. Law and order and the rule of law are two completely different concepts.

Law and order can be established without the rule of law. Emphasis on enforcing the law and on maintaining order justifies draconian legislations like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. It legitimises armed forces of the Indian state being provided impunity to silence all forms of dissent. The concept negates the premise of equality before the law. Emphasis on law and order nurtures dictatorial aspirations in seats of power. Dictators like Hitler sold ideas of law and order to citizens to usurp absolute power.

The concept of the rule of law, on the other hand, demands equality before law. The rule of law warrants supremacy of justice institutions. The concept demands the promulgation of just laws, and open processes for implementation of such laws, wherein an independent judiciary working within the parameters of the rule of law decides disputes. In a rule of law state decision makers have but a narrow window of discretion, and that too within a framework. This reiterates the principle of equality before law, one that makes no distinctions between decision makers and citizens.

Unfortunately a debate that delineates the divergent implication of maintaining rule of law and maintaining law and order is not yet rooted in India. Political parties emphasise the arming of police and other law enforcement agencies as priority rather than refining such institutions of the state into ones accountable under just law. If the Indian state's law enforcement agencies were to be made accountable, for acts of commission and omission, their need to be heavily armed would not arise.

It is an unconditional guarantee of the rule of law that can drive progress in India. The rule of law negates the space for authoritarianism, a space where the state and state representatives take precedence over rights of the individual. That the rule of law is not an exception, is something that can lay the foundation for a strong economy, where all citizens may benefit from social and economic development, and not just those adept at manipulating the state and exploiting people.

Without the rule of law, and attempts to debate and establish the same, the electoral process in India is a ritual without substance. India's metamorphosis from a law and order state to one based on principles of the rule of law is more eagerly awaited than another ritual exercise.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Israel’s Demolition Of Palestinian Homes

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. UN Photo/Violaine Martin More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - Israeli Settlers Continue Their Attacks against Palestinians
  • Tribespeople Call On WWF To Stop Funding Abuse

    This Baka man from Ndongo village reported that he was severely beaten by anti-poaching squads on two occasions. His neighbors have appealed to WWF to stop funding such abuses. More>>

    Ebola: UN Crisis Response Mission Opens New Office In Mali

    Workers build an enclosure at the Mayagba Ebola community care centre construction site in Bombali District, which is among the areas worst affected by the disease in Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/John James More>>

    ALSO:

    UNESCO Chief Denounces Murder Of Somali Radio Journalist

    Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz More>>

    Palestinian Refugees From Syria Face Worsening Situation

    Palestinian women at a UNRWA distribution centre in the Jaramana refugee camp, Damascus, Syria. Photo: UNRWA/Carole Alfarah More>>

    ALSO:

    Greece Risks Prolonged Social Crisis

    Greece’s severe financial crisis has bred social unrest and intolerance of the nearly one million irregular migrants living in the country (October 2012). Photo: IRIN/Kristy Siegfried More>>

    Madagascar: Warning Of ‘rapid’ Spread Of Plague In Capital

    Ny Hantra Andriatsifasoa survived the bubonic plague after being infected in Madagascar in 2011. Photo: IRIN/Tiana Randriaharimalala More>>

    New Bird Flu Strain In Europe Threatens Poultry Sector

    24 November 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) today warned that a new bird flu strain detected in Europe poses a significant threat to the poultry sector, especially in low-resourced countries situated along ... More>>


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news