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Conviction in Corruption Case: The Long Road to Justice

Posted by Unknown Monday, 6 October 2014 0 comments
Kautilya, in his Arthashastra, says: “Just as a fish moving deep under water cannot be possibly found out either as drinking or not drinking water, so, government servants employed in government work may not be found out while taking the money for themselves.  It is possible to ascertain the movement of birds flying high up in the sky but it is not possible to ascertain the movement of government servants or their hidden purposes.”

Kautilya further says: “Just as it is impossible not to taste a drop of honey or poison that is placed at the tip of the tongue, so it is rather impossible for the government servant not to eat up at least a bit of the king’s revenue.”

The conviction of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister must have compelled Kautilya to turn in his grave. After all, here is a case of the chief servant herself being convicted in the disproportionate assets case. 

Often, members of the political class manage to get away from prosecution with the abuse of power, betraying the trust of people who voted them to office. Even if somehow a politician fails to protect his/her skin and is convicted of malpractices, attempts are made at every stage to obstruct and delay the judicial process. Thus, by exploiting the grey areas of law, the convict is able to remain in office and exercise power for prolonged periods of time. This also ensures that the case escapes media scorn and eventually fades away from public memory. 

What such clever people fail to realise is the fact that the rule of law upholds for all citizens including people in high public office. However dextrous you may be in sweeping your clandestine activities under the carpet, a day shall come when you are scrambling through your coffers replete with booty and suddenly your hands collide with the skeletons hidden there from the past.  This is the day the gaze of law falls upon you and the majesty of law triumphs. As long as the case proceeds, you feel happy at being successfully able to dodge your destiny only to realise later the depth of pit you have dug up for yourself and the number of links of sin you have forged for yourself. 

An elected leader is a repository of public faith and carries the great responsibility of delivering on his/her electoral promises by means of effective and corruption free governance. It is expected of a leader to narrow down the disparities by way of his/her administrative acumen and bring the society to the altar of progress and prosperity. Isn’t it shameful that often such leaders are found indulging in unconstitutional activities? Isn’t it a murder of public faith when such leaders are caught siphoning off public funds to their personal accounts which are otherwise meant for public welfare?

It certainly is!

A politician is primarily a public servant who ought to serve the society to the best of his/her ability. We, not I should be the agenda when it comes to the distribution of fruits of effective public policies. State, not self should be the word that should prick the conscience when it comes to assessing the impact of government decisions. What we observe in most cases, unfortunately, is just the contrary.

It is indeed a matter of great pride that ultimately it is the wisdom of judiciary that prevails, however long it might take. But we need to plug the lacunae in our system by means of checks and balances and strengthen our legal framework to check the abuse of power. It is high time the procedural reforms are introduced to expedite the disposition of cases that involve huge amounts of taxpayer’s money. There is an urgent need to ensure that those found guilty are severely punished. This can only be achieved by ensuring active citizen participation. Strengthening the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to empower the citizens is the need of the hour. Voters must exercise their right to vote if they are to elect able administrators. A change in attitude toward the nation is also required if we are to develop a sense of collective responsibility and ensure honest functioning of government machinery.

It is we who can bring the change and for that we will have to be the change ourselves!


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