Sunday, May 21, 2006

Politicians and Corruption-Need to Change the System

In India politics/politician/corruption/scandals go hand in hand. Every other day we hear stories of corruption in Indian polity. But do we hear about any politician being punished by law and sentenced to death or life imprisonment? The worst thing you may have heard may be a lower court giving “x” number of years imprisonment to a politician and on the same day he gets bail or he gets a stay order from a higher court. We have also seen that if a politician goes to jail, he gets all privileges in the jail, which defeats the very purpose of sending him/her to jail.

See some of the examples. The former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu,
J Jayalalitha was involved in a number of corruption charges during her tenure in 1991-1996. Most of these cases are still pending against her in various courts of law. She was arrested and kept in jail for few days. Even though the final verdict has not come in most of her cases, she finished another term as Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.

Same is the case with Laloo Yadav in
fodder scam. He was punished by a lower court and went to jail for few days. Since he has money power he somehow got the punishment stayed by an upper court and now he is the Union Railway Minister.

Continuing with Laloo Yadav and fodder scam, this scandal was unearthed on 1996 and still after 10 long years final verdict has not yet come. It may take many more years before final verdict in this case comes out. In the mean time, the person who is alleged to have made a criminal offense is ruling the country. Doesn’t sent wrong signal to future politicians-even if you do something wrong and get caught there are so many loopholes in Indian executive and judiciary system that you can easily escape and still enjoy power?

Another thing of concern-Take any political scandal that broke out in India. It will take a minimum of 10 to 15 years for the final verdict (if any) to come out. So if a politician in his 70’s decided to loot the wealth of the country he can be pretty sure that he will die and escape law before any final verdict comes out from courts.
The points I want to make are
  • If a lower court punishes a politician, then he/she should not be allowed to hold any public office or contest any elections till his name is cleared by the higher court. A stay order by a higher court on the rulings of a lower court cannot be considered as an excuse to hold public office.
  • Since we live in an age of political corruption, special courts should be created and cases must be disposed in a timely manner. No case should ever go beyond say 5 years. The verdict of the special court should be final and cannot be appealed in another court.
  • There must be a retirement age for all the politicians.
Photo courtesy Tribune India
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Blogger കേരളഫാർമർ/keralafarmer said...

Requeest you to open a malayalam blog. Your blogs are required for awareness to others.

May 21, 2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The process of appealing in a higher court is an accepted norm worldwide.
In our system it is pretty easy to raise false allegations and trap somebody in a case and get an order from a lower court and in many places the appointment of judges itself is based more on influence and political clout than the person's credentials. We are a country of a billion people and in order to finish all the cases in 5 years, the resources required will be tremendous. I think the media should be encouraged to take the role of a watch dog and expose the corrupt officials and politicians, and the public should stand up and use their voting power to keep them out of power. I see this happening in at least some parts of the country. Finally these corrupt politicians and officials come from our own society. It just shows the erosion in values in our society as a whole in the post independent era.

May 21, 2006 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Anil. But unfortunately these corrupt politicians are the ones who make the laws and they can make whatever damn laws they please. The donkey electorate has to wait till the next election to show their ire.

I have sometimes maintained that India is not yet fully qualified to be a domocracy. For a democracy to function effectively, we need a responsive and resposible elctorate. Which we sadly lack.


May 21, 2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Kerala Farmer: I should be doing it soon once my PhD is over.

Anil-great thoughts. I never knew that you can write this well. Yes, i agree with u that it is easy to raise false allegation and trap some one. Also the appointments of judges especially in lower courts are based on influence. Bur for most part Supreme Court judges have stayed away from controversies till now and a panel of supreme court judges should be appointed to deal with high profile corruption charges.

I know 5 years may be a short time but see what is happening with the present judicial system. I read somewhere the total holidays including summer vacation for Indian courts is around 150 days!This must change and the summer holidays for courts has to go. Thus we can speed up the cases a little bit. Also that is why I told we need to revamp the judiciary comprehensively. The architects of Indian constitution may not have foreseen all these conditions and it is time to change the system for India's good.

kmn uncle-I have been in India and US and I can feel the difference in the way both democracies work in both country. if a new rule comes into law in US and people dont like it, they will pressurize their senators/congressman to change it. But as long as it is law they will obey it. But we see the just opposite in India. We take law in our hand if dont like a law implemented by the goverment. I beleive India is following a kind of "self destructive democracy" in which no one is accountable to any one for his/her action. Things need to change.

May 22, 2006 3:03 AM  
Blogger verbaltorture said...

There are no second thoughts on the fact that the judiciary needs to change.

Corruption and politics are buddies. One supports the other. I know of judges (yes, judges) who agreed to change verdicts in courts because the defendants 'met' them beforehand.

It's all nice and rosy to say that things need to change. But how - is the real question. Our society practically has corruption running in its veins. We just cannot obey a law (A simple example being this pachayat board near my house saying that garbage is not to be disposed here. The board is practically invisible due to the heaps of garbage on it).
With an attitude like that, there is no hope of change.

There are multiple facets to the problem. It's not just the lack of education. It's not just the low salary of govt officials. It's above all that - it's part of thought process. It's part of the society. And to remove this poison from the veins of a whole generation of a billion Indians - is next to impossible.

On a positive note, it does not mean everyone is corrupt/bad. There are some good parts too. One such initiative is the speedy justice system now in India where justice is served in 10 days flat. And so far (incl the famous case of the mill owner's son raping a 52-yr old woman inside a Merc), it has lived to its word.

All that's left, is to wait. And watch.

May 22, 2006 8:03 AM  
Blogger Rakesh said...

verbaltorture - what is this 10-day flat justice u r talkin u have any links for more info on this?

May 23, 2006 2:44 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

" I know of judges (yes, judges) who agreed to change verdicts in courts because the defendants 'met' them beforehand.
I agree with u. I also knew few instances of that happening in Trivandrum. I hope this is not the case with High Courts or Supreme Courts.

And do send links to Rakesh about the 10 day flat justice system

May 23, 2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Shumit said...


The problem is that there is no incentive in solving cases quickly. This is a unique case, because if incentives were given for solving cases within time limits, justice could be hampered in the process. The only solution to the problem is to hire a lot more judges and lawyers which requires loads of money and definitely an increase in the number and the quality of law colleges.

May 24, 2006 4:51 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Shumit-Increasing the judges solve part of the problem only. Another thing is reducing the number of holidays of courts, like taking away the summer holidays etc. Ofcourse we need more "quality" law colleges. No doubt about that.

May 25, 2006 2:53 AM  
Blogger verbaltorture said...

Rajesh - Sorry was out of town for a few days, just saw your comment.

Sorry, but I don't have any links detailing the quick-justice system that I mentioned. It even had a name for it, saw it on NDTV. I apologize, I forgot.

This is similar to a project for speedy justice sposored by ADB, primarily focussing on Delhi high court

This speedy justice system is used based on the popularity of the case/convicts. It was supposedly a very important factor in expediting the case against Kaisliwal... though the HC granted him bail, the DNA/polygraphy/brain mapping tests were conducted - all in 2 weeks flat, and now the police have a solid case against the man who once everybody thought was innocent.

May 25, 2006 5:02 AM  
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