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


India: What will follow the law?

Given the primacy of combating corruption to breathe life into the concept of democracy, the anti-corruption movement in India is indeed the country's second movement for freedom. Given the magnitude of the problem, the complex and interlinked inroads corruption has made into all aspects of life in the country, it is not mere lack of interest, political differences and sheer snobbishness of the country's political elite that has united them in opposing more sober proposals, sans 'camps', suggested by the civil society as opposed to the nonsensical draft law proposed by the government. The fact that not a single political party of the world's largest multi-party democracy has supported the civil society initiative against corruption illuminates the lack of morale of at least one of the country's democratic institutions.

The unwelcome reality for the political parties in the country that do not have what they believe in as their 'manifest destiny' to decide everything in India and for Indians, understandably will be bitter, but a refining pill for the country's politicians to swallow. In that, India is also witnessing the defining moment and thus the process of maturing of its democratic framework. Dislike by most parliamentarians about the fact that the parliament they are seated in does not have a writ beyond the collective wisdom of the people who sent their representatives to the legislative house is understandable. Nor can they act according to the will of the people, since should there be a strict anti-corruption framework in the country, a substantial number of the country's parliamentarians would find their abode being shifted from their palatial houses within their fiefdoms into the narrow rooms within prisons. Disgust upon the public appeal for a 'biting' law against corruption by the country's political elite is thus understandable, but they have no other choice.

The civil society's model anti-corruption laws, or the one proposed by the government are indeed not the best legislations out there. Both versions of the future law have scope for improvement, in particular, the one drafted by the government, the weakest and the most recent visible specimen of the disrespectful attempt against the constitutional writ that the government is mandated to protect. However good the legislation is, without a proper implementingframework the law cannot deliver its legislative writ.

Kallipolis will not follow once the law is in place, no matter how well meaning it is. If not at any other time in the past, it is now a moment in the country's history that the members of the India's civil society must put their differences behind and speak in one voice, against corruption and not to make use the public space they enjoy to pass comments about how bad is one form of campaign from the other or how good is a particular proposal as against the others. Comments by some of the leading civil society activists reported through the media paints a disappointing picture of the lack of thematic consensus and confirms the worrying public perception that the human rights movement in India is divided between different camps, some of them formed on the basis of who have received what decoration and who aims for what more in the form of recognitions. In that some of the civil society leaders in the country are not immune to intellectual corruption. The last thing the country can afford now is a 'blue ribbon jury' within the civil society.

There are relatively successful models of anti-corruption frameworks in the world, within Asia itself. The system that is in place, for instance in Hong Kong, is of relatively high efficiency. That a unique territory like Hong Kong is not a true democracy underscores the fact that a parliamentary form of democracy is not required to contain corruption. That there is parliamentary primacy over the acts of the government is more the better though. The Hong Kong model of corruption prevention takes within its sweep non-government entities, including human rights groups and business establishments. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption provides a comprehensive theoretical and practical framework against corruption, a model that must be studied by anyone who is serious of fighting corruption. Unlike all other international conventions the UN has produced, the Convention against Corruption provides an extensive implementation framework.

Equally important is the government's effort to maximise wider consultancy in the process. Engaging in consultations with a single individual is not what is warranted under the circumstances. A consultative process is not the government's prerogative to offer, but a citizen's right to be fulfilled.

For now the government and the non-government groups have had their chances to take their shots at the target. The question then is what next?

Assuming that eventually there would be a law in India against corruption, probably the best of its kind in the world, without drastic reforms of the justice institutions it would be like owning a radio without means to electricity. Of the manifold problems that India face today, arguably, corruption would be one in the 'top-ten' list. Of equal importance is the non-functioning justice apparatus. However, the country's civil society is yet to wake up to this reality or is pretending to sleep over this issue.

The potent evil in India is not the façade made up of some of the reckless and globalised business interests, but the foundational weakness of a state, that still lacks the understanding of and refuses to accept that its justice regime has stopped growing and has instead started putrefying. Without incorporating debates concerning the urgent requirement for a complete overhaul of India's justice framework, corruption will continue to flourish in India, no matter what law is eventually legislated.


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.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>

UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>