Preserving India’s constitutional democracy is more important than a feel-good agitations
In my article in the September issue of Pragati-The Indian National interest Review, I argue that while Anna Hazare’s agitation has rightly focused the nation’s attention on the issue of corruption, its adoption of blatantly unconstitutional means ultimately undermines Indian democracy and would only be counter-productive in the long-term,
Nevertheless, the methods adopted by Mr. Hazare must give pause to every Indian who retains faith in India’s constitutional democracy. As many other commentators have enumerated, his so-called Jan Lokpal bill itself suffers from many lacunae and is hardly the panacea to the ills of corruption. Worse, it appears to violate the constitutionally mandated division of power between different pillars of the state. In any case, no single body—howsoever constitutionally well-protected—can single-handedly tackle corruption which pervades virtually every aspect of Indian society.
But forget what may be wrong with Mr. Hazare’s bill for a moment. After all, the government’s proposed Lokpal bill is hardly perfect in itself and suffers from serious deficiencies which may severely handicap its functioning. What is truly troubling though is Mr. Hazare’s reliance on blatantly unconstitutional means to push forward his legislation. Instead of attempting to reform the system, he has harnessed populist disgust and attempted to hijack the entire political process. What is particularly offensive is his gimmickry resort to repeated bouts of fasting [link]
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