The LokPal Bill – a new approach?

We all know about Anna Hazare and the LokPal bill, and in some cases we agree – corruption must be addressed. However, many of us are inherently uncomfortable with creating another “bureaucracy”. The arguments have two main tones –

  1. Another “power bloc” – this is just another faceless organisation which will not make a difference to “me”
  2. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? –  who ensures that the members themselves are not corrupted?

Both arguments have their merits.

I want to suggest a different architecture for an anti-corruption body.

The Jan LokPal Sabha

  • 500 Indians chosen by Random lottery  to be part of the primary anti-corruption body. (150 evry quarter)
  • Eligibility – you must have a voter card, and have studied till at least 10th class.
  • Each JanLok member must spend 2 years tenure in the Jan LokPal Sabha – they will be government servants and will be afforded all the powers/perks that go with them
  • THese 500 members will self organise by location/area of focus, and will follow the work guidelines as laid out by Judiciary/Jan Lok Pal Bill
  • of the 500, 50 members are voted for an extended 4 year term as per the wishes of the individual and the sabha to ensure continuity

The Jan Lok Pal Sabha is the true notion of self governance – of the people, for the people, by the people. It drives home the shared civic responsibility we have for the state of our nation.

Why this is an interesting solution

I know this sounds like a weird way of thinking of a solution, but i urge you to study it further. It has interesting upsides

  • One of Us” – one of the biggest problems in any of these implementations is the feeling of  “Us vs them”. Because *anyone* can become member of the Sabha, it is no longer a faceless other.
  • True participation – some countries have compulsory enlisting into the armed services. Our country needs something else – as the worlds largest democracy, it needs to be true to its stated desire of participation of its public in the political process. Having nearly any indian citizen as eligible to hold public office will lead to an increased feeling  of civic responsibility.
  • Balance of power – As this is simply a random process it will be difficult for self serving blocs to form. Moreover as there is a 2yr tenure, any “power” gained within the system is temporary.
  • Spread of impact – because of a a wide variety of people representing a cross section of age, gender, class, caste, religion, location etc – the impact of Jan Lok Pal will be felt more immediately
  • Checks and balances – with a widespread number of people, the responsibility of checks and balances lies with many more people. Moreover, media scrutiny will also become widespread.

Some arguments, and why they are unfounded

  • “These guys will use those 2 years to just store up money/fulfil personal agendas etc”

The assumption here is that the average indian is corrupt- in which case the entire idea of anti-corruption is moot.

Moreover a 2yr random tenure means that there may be payback for personal agendas.

And oh yes, dont worry, YOU might get a chance to abuse the power too!

  • It is too hard to organise” –

i dont see why this is harder to organise compared to any other setup

  • “They wont be able to do it” –

We cant take a class argument – our constitution believes that panchayats can take decisions. What do you mean “They” anyway?

We cant take the intellectual argument – that just implies a babu us vs the savages mentality, which i know you wont stoop to.

And we cant take the expertise argument – the one thing an average indian knows is corruption!

If we all agree that corruption needs to be addressed, and are cynical about the current set up of the LokPal bill , it is because we fear the creation of another power structure owned by “them”. The approach outlined above seems to be fairer and more inclusive

Of course, something like this must be ratified by current “power holders”, and this will be very scary for them. This is of course where the work begins – if we let our voices and our votes do the talking, we can hopeful influence this. It will require a huge combined effort, but maybe it would be worth it.

What do you think?

Oh yes, this idea came from a Proposed Constitutional Setup on another planet

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About Tarun

Joker, smoker, midnight toker. Teacher, writer, general gadabout
This entry was posted in crowdsourcing, Society/Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The LokPal Bill – a new approach?

  1. Angad Chowdhry says:

    superb

  2. Wooster says:

    Who chooses the 500 people “randomly”? Assuming the first Sabha can be accomplished somehow, who handles the transition from the first to the second bunch? Surely not a third party?

    The 50 who are voted to stay on perhaps? Who votes for them – the 500? How can one be sure no one “games” the randomization process to get cronies in to the league?

    These are very valid questions, imo, and there aren’t easy answers to any of them.

    I don’t mean to knock the idea, I just think there is an essential problem of trust with systems of any sort. It is as important to APPEAR clean and transparent as it is to actually be it.

    I agree the average Indian probably isn’t corrupt – the tragedy is that I think the mass of men have corruption thrust upon them. Very few are born corrupt.

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