In 2004 profile of an organization was displayed at website. The organization had 500 plus employees. 29 had been accused of spousal abuse, 7 had been arrested for fraud, 19 had been accused of passing bad cheques, and 117 had bankrupted at least two businesses. Further, 3 had been arrested for assault, 71 could not get credit or loans due to bad credit histories, 14 had been arrested on drug related charge, 8 had been arrested for shop lifting, 21 were defendants on various lawsuits and 84 were stopped for drunken driving! Just hold your breath; those records pertained to 545 members of the Lower House of Parliament of India. The same group that cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of laws designed to keep us in line.
Since those were the figures about nine years ago. The situation now is worse. Not only we are getting suffocated under the weight of population, corruption, and politics of appeasement, but also there is criminalization of Politics – the mother of all evils!
It was a miracle that our Supreme Court pronounced a judgment by which politicians sentenced by courts of law were to lose their posts and banned to contest elections. It was widely hailed by public. But sadly our UPA Government is getting set to negate the same through ordinance.
During the last six decades we have been desperately searching for some honest person nearby to offer him Prime Minister’s seat to salvage us. Thankfully due to UPA Government we can claim that we are the most corrupt democracy in the world today!
We have been wasting working days of Parliament in shouting against corruption, demanding commissions after commission of inquiry to investigate political corruption. There have been several high powered inquiries in the past, but how many corrupt persons have undergone punishment? The story involving politicians in corruption cases is same. The case lingers on for years. Inquiry reports gather dust and get buried underneath. Where cases are instituted, the accused feigns sickness till freed on bail. Then after years the accused is acquitted to mock at his rivals and the system. We are a happy doing much in achieving nothing.
Seldom is any action taken against the investigating agency for filing false cases against ‘innocent’ politician. In rarest of rare cases, those who get convicted appeal against the verdict, obtain stay on their conviction, contest elections and get re-elected. Nobody among the investigators, prosecutors, judiciary, and media is responsible for this shoddy National opera going on.
We have got used to hearing of reforms to speed up judicial process. We are told that investigating agency and judiciary have to function within their ‘constraints’. Be it so, but certain elementary things should go on. Like media can keep the issue in public focus by highlighting shortcomings in the investigation and abuse of judicial process, till the cases are brought to finality. Public must out rightly reject the politicians involved in corruption cases, whenever they have chance to vote. But no one is interested – ‘All is well’, ‘Sab Chalta hai’ is our National attitude!
With proposed ordinance on the horizon, in spite of Supreme Court verdict, we have remained at the beginning of the road. The crux is that voters alone are to be blamed for electing corrupt politicians. We are electing bad governments garlanding corrupt politicians and burning public property at the behest of corrupt and convicted politicians. Such things do not happen in USA and UK, the countries we compare with ours.
If we want to move then citizens themselves and NGOs shall have to undertake a crusade against corruption and criminalization. Even a local movement can arrest the dirty politics going unabated at present. In spite of the ordinance we can undo our mistake by not voting for the corrupt politician whatever be his party or family affiliation.
Chand K Sharma