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lokayukta bill: my point of view

by nawal k. pandey



the criticism of bihar’s lokayukta bill is ill-conceived and ill-considered. the basic thrust of the billis to provide tools to an independent entity to vigorously pursue the cases of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats for swift justice without intimidation or external pressure. the bill as written albeit needing some conversion deals with the most pervasive problem of our society. it covers current as well as former chief ministers and refers to the corrupt practices act of 1988 to frame charges. enactment of the bill even if no changes are made gives ample ammunition to lakayukt to prosecute everybody from the chief minister to the lowest ranking public servant and complies with the constitutional provisions of the land. it is the move in right direction and harping on nitish kumar is pointless. he has demonstrated that he can rise to the occasion; and has the rare and prudent vision to do the right thing.

on the contrary, the bill is not the panacea of corruption, nor it will make our society corruption free by its enactment. as a matter fact, it would be hypocritical to assume that the law would immediately end the corruption and suddenly bihar would be bereft of the corruption as we know and rely so heavily to get things done. however, it would be awe inspiring experience if the law could deter the corruption and put bihar on the road to prosperity.

let us face it: corruption did not start overnight and it will not go away overnight. it is ingrained in our culture and we are addicted to it. it is a battle that can not be won easily but must be won at any cost.
probably the lokayukta law will perform the indispensible task.

no doubt, the force behind the lokayukta bill is the movement started by anna hazare. he is the leader and he is the progenitor; and the lokayukta bill is the outcome of his struggle. though the fate of the movement is up in the air, the ugly face of corruption could not have come to light so vividly without anna’s movement. on the contrary, it is unwise to view the bill with skepticism. it is the beginning of the process criticism of which whether by the members of anna’s team or by the people at large is premature and unnecessary until adequacy of its effectiveness is identified.

by criticizing the bill, the core members of anna’s team have changed the tone of the movement.

they are more combative than accommodating and appear to be fighting for fame and publicity. such contradictions and recklessness are the attributes of politicians, not of the people of an incorruptible movement. then again, i might be wrong about them. maybe they have political ambitions and, to remain in limelight, criticize everything and everybody, and use the movement as their platform. if they do have such desire, they should sever their ties with the movement and choose political affiliation. alternatively, there are lots of other good things they can do such as educating the people about the consequences of corruption and what the proposed law would do.
there is no doubt that they have the education, experience and intelligence that they can use to tackle the problems of moral degradation, social injustice, political conundrum and economic malaise that pervades the society.

in the end, i must say however that the civil society has the right to lobby for legislation. but only legislatures have the prerogative to pass the law as they see fit. subsequently, if the effect of the law is bad or inadequate, the civil society can criticize and demand conversion. until then let us keep our fingers crossed and hope that the proposed law is in place for the benefit of the state.

disclaimer: the views expressed in this report are purely those of the author and may not in any circumstances be regarded as the official view of bihartimes.

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