How the Lokpal can actually change the very fabric of democracy in India?

Lokpal is a Legislative bill that is being pushed for implementation by a group calling itself the civil society, the aim of this new law is to make politicians accountable by having an independent investigating and prosecuting agency. The Lokpal with enough powers would be a legal vigilante. The life expectancy of a Lokpal is of course predictably uncertain.

Keeping the “Who will bell the cat” question on pause for a while, have a look at the larger power body that the lokpal wants to control, “The Prime Minister of India”. This is where all the juice is.

We Indians have a weird Constitution. As is the norm even now, our writers flipped the best parts of every constitution in the world to put together the largest and most ambiguously written constitution of their time. In the Copy-Paste job; they chose a President to be the head of the state and gave him all the powers before tying up his hands with a Prime Minister from the Ruling Part. Every activity of the government happens under the authorization and name of the President. He/She cannot be touched by anyone. He/She is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. No Bill can be passed without his/her consent. And yet the President ends up being a puny pan at the hands of the ruling party.

And the most ridiculous part is that the Indian President is elected in the exact same manner as the US President!!! You read it right. I think we flipped the idea of the president from the Americans. Even though we “think” that the US president is elected by the people, he is not. The president is elected by members of the Legislative assembly(I know they call it something else, but I want to stick to terms I’m familiar with) and states who are in turn elected by the people. The reason behind this is a little complicated. It has to do with every region of the nation having an equal vote and to prevent a “son/daughter of the state” vote from electing an unworthy person as president. You want the best man/woman to lead the country and he should not be in power simply because his state had the most people and votes. Between, this was the reason why Bush won the 2004 elections even though he did not receive the popular vote. He had the support of more legislators!!!

In India, we do not “feel” that we elect the president directly because there has never been a presidential candidate who went to the people asking them to send him a legislature that would work for him. Our colorful prime ministers and remote controls held the power and they were happy. We’ve always been narrow thinkers, sufficient and happy with what goes inside our walls instead of thinking big. The Prime Minister represented the party that won the Legislative Assembly elections and they got to frame the laws. It didn’t matter if they could rule the country or if people even supported them. They stayed their for 5 years and kaboom they are gone. The Ministers are not accountable to anyone and they do everything in the name of a president who just becomes a namesake not doing their real function or realizing the massive power that they wield.

Now, comes the Lokpal. Suddenly the Prime Minister or any of his ministers can no longer do as they please. They are being watched and can be kicked out of office at any time by an Ombudsman they hired. An accountable Prime Minister becomes just another person. He works at office and has to go home in the evening. And suddenly the Indian President is the most powerful person in the country. We can fix the responsibility of running the country on him instead of the current uncertainty. Making someone responsible will change things dramatically. Instead of states fighting over petty politics. We’d have a President who’d rule India without fear of satisfying coalitions. The Coalitions would still exist and they would be the ruling party. But they’d be insignificant because they all need to answer the people and it’s the president who gets to invite a party to be a ruling party anyway.

I’m not sure if the Civil society thought of all these things. If they did, wow. if not, WOW! they’re gonna do an incredible job.

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