Unless the role of money power, mafia elements , use of caste and religion is curbed in politics, things will remain as they are and country will remain mired in poverty , discrimination, inequity, injustice and the rich and powerful will remain a law unto themselves- aggravating abject misery of millions, writes former IAS officer V.S.Pandey
There is an outcry every now and then by the common people regrading different set of rules for different set of people. Sadly the saying “show me the face, will show you the rule” is omnipresent in our beloved country to the disadvantage of millions of ordinary citizens. We have a constitution whose article 14 unequivocally guarantees “equality before law and equal protection of law” to every citizen irrespective of caste, religion, race, economic condition etc. Despite this constitutional protection, we have been perpetuating a differential treatment culture amongst our people- based on their social and economic status. If a powerful/ moneyed one is involved in any misdoing or crime then one set of rules are applied and if a commoner commits the same crime then the law of the land catches up with him or her, expeditiously. This has been the discriminatory behavior of our administrative, judicial and law and order systems. This malady has been so well entrenched, for decades, in our country’s ruling culture that people generally accept the differential treatment without any murmur and accept it as a fait accompli.
The reasons for this kind of state of affairs are not difficult to find. When in any nation, influential people with political connections and wealth are allowed to have their way in every sense of the term for years, then the rule of law loses its meaning for larger sections of the population. It all starts at the top , and here top means the top of the administrative structure which in a democracy means the elected people who are tasked with running the governments. When the electoral processes are all deeply mired in corruption of every kind and when through this corrupted process only , people are elected to govern the country and states, will these kind of people have any respect for rule of law? People reaching positions of power through unethical means, brazenly using divisive agendas of caste and religion, enormous black money, illicit muscle and criminal power ,just cannot talk about integrity, selflessness, public good and national interest. Every action of these kind of people will necessarily have the sole objective of selfishness and perpetuation of their rule at any cost- by hook or crook. Where does the rule of law vanish when billions of black money is spent on political rallies, crores are distributed to “political dalals “ who sprout everywhere during election time, when crores are spend to purchase party tickets in many political parties, and openly people are called upon to vote on caste and religious lines? Surely, when the rule of law is so grossly undermined in the most important aspect of democracy, i.e in elections , then it has to become the norm everywhere ,to flout it with impunity. In this kind of unprincipled and corrupt political culture incidents of injustices that we witness all over the country , regularly, become common place .Then the political class, of every hue, rushes to the site of incident to shed crocodile tears and capture valuable print space and electronic media time . The same political class is the accomplice and solely responsible for the sad state of affairs in our country . Those who are in opposition today ruled the country and states for many years and those are in power today in a particular state are in opposition in many states. In all the scenarios, the behaviour of the rotten political class remains the same . Change the colour of the ruling party , the differing colours will all be behaving similarly . The rot in the way our political parties conduct themselves , has led to this tragic situation where people are helplessly vulnerable ,fearfully facing the pathetic situation and suffering the callous unjust treatment provided by the governmental machinery and law enforcement agencies .The buck stops with the political executives who have been given all the power and authority to govern by our constitution but use the mandate to negate it constantly.
The only way to transform the situation and establish the rule of law in our country is to change the manner in which elections are fought . Unless the role of money power, mafia elements , use of caste and religion is curbed in politics, things will remain as they are and country will remain mired in poverty , discrimination, inequity, injustice and the rich and powerful will remain a law unto themselves- aggravating abject misery of millions . It is all possible to achieve ,as many countries on this planet have been able to provide a fair and judicious governance system to their people. When so many nations could provide their populace a better and equitable governance and remove poverty , why can’t we? For this to happen our people have to shun politics based on caste , creed , religion , black money and muscle power. This will become possible when right thinking people- who love their country more than their petty selfish interests and cosy comforts , come out to challenge the existing political system and provide an honest and capable political alternative to the people. Merely debating and advising and arm chair rhetoric are worthless . Strong selfless dedicated action to salvage the situation is essential. Each one has to join the collective action to cleanse the rot in the political system. The time is ripe for it .
(Vijay Shankar Pandey is former Secretary Government of India)