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Three reforms India needs to debate now!

Dr Nitin Pandey

“Would US be the superpower today it is, if it had Indian Constitution running it?” This is a question I often wonder about. With communities vying with each other to be more backward, corruption reigning supreme and politicians in power hounding those out of it, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘No’. Perhaps our Constitution writers, thorough Gentlemen they were, could not imagine the depths to which Indian society would sink one day and so today represents, in a way, a scenario worst than the worst they had planned for.

Here are three changes in the Indian Constitution which need to be debated and acted upon if things are to improve.

Reform No 1: Binding Referendums on Contentious Issues.

The authors of our Constitution assumed that the people we elect to Parliament reflect our opinion in each and every matter; so they created no mechanism to independently assess the will of the people on specific issues. Referendums are an accepted way in the West of eliciting public opinion on contentious issues and the vote obtained is binding on the Government and all political parties accept it. Britons & French voted in a referendum a few years ago not to join the European Union. Contentious issues in India like the 123 Nuclear Deal could be put up for referendum and the result should settle the issue without the need to disrupt the Parliament. Instead of going on strikes and causing loss of life and property, parties can ask for referendums to determine people’s will on such issues. These referendums would also ensure that pressure from a vocal few does not suppress the opinion of the silent majority. A national referendum on the best option to solve the J&K problem could throw up bold decisions.

Reform No 2: Single National Indian Police

Another well meaning change our founding fathers implemented in the early 50’s, which unfortunately has done more harm than good, was the decision to create State Cadres of police below the Officer rank. Prior to that, the IPS was a central organization from top to bottom. Initially implemented to help the States have a better control over the law and order situation, it has resulted in excessive politicization of the police force. Politicians have a vice like grip on the police and use it to settle political scores with their opponents. The present mess in UP on police recruitments underlines the need to take the police out of domination of State Governments. Ineffective coordination between police of different states hampers fight against terrorism. Terrorists use one state for procuring weapons, another for storing them and hit at a third state, knowing the delay in coordinating will give them time to escape. If India has to change, its police force has to be independent, insulated from politicians and unified all across India. A single national entity will resist political pressure in a much better way and will control terrorism much more efficiently.

Reform No 3: Time bound disposal of all cases in Courts.

Inherent human nature is not to follow laws but fear of law disciplines even the wildest souls. Sadly, this fear of law is lacking in our country which tempts even the mildest of us all to break laws. This lack of fear of law is due to a crippled and corrupt police and due to an inefficient judiciary. If cases can take up to 60yrs to be decided, who will fear law? Ordinary people languish in jail for years as undertrials, while bail pleas of film stars are heard in a single day. Can there ever be a Paris Hilton in India if orders of a TADA court in Mumbai take more than 2 months to reach Sanjay Dutt also in Mumbai? Surprisingly the Supreme Court which has taken it upon itself to reform all sections of our country is silent of reforming the Judicial System. If the waiting list of any other department was 34.2 lakhs, which is the number of pending court cases, the Supreme Court would have taken harsh action, but is somehow silent on its own waiting list. A maximum time limit should be specified for a final decision in any case and if that decision is not reached the case should automatically go to a jury of eminent citizens for disposal in a week’s time.6 months should be the maximum time to arrive at a decision in any case. Such juries could also be used to dispose off the waiting list in courts.

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From: I aparceipte you taking to time to contribute That's very helpful.
I aparceipte you taking to time to contribute That's very helpful.

From: Of course not. Politicians want you to bevilee that this is a choice between staying in the EU and leaving, but it is nothing of the sort. It is a choice between a more powerful, more undemocratic EU, and the status quo. A second 'No' to the same quest
Of course not. Politicians want you to bevilee that this is a choice between staying in the EU and leaving, but it is nothing of the sort. It is a choice between a more powerful, more undemocratic EU, and the status quo. A second 'No' to the same question would be unprecedented. The EU would finally be forced to accept that the people don't want this Treaty, and don't agree with the way in which it is being forced upon the people of Europe.A second 'No' vote would give power back to the people - there would be celebrations all over Europe as all the millions of people who were denied a vote on this toast Ireland's refusal to be bullied.Far from resulting in Ireland leaving the EU, a No vote would allow the incoming Conservative government in Britain to hold the referendum it has repeatedly promised, and to then revoke the UK's ratification when the country inevitably votes No too. Neither the Czech nor the Polish Presidents will sign if the Irish people say no. It will be the end of the Treaty, and the beginning of a new, more positive and democratic period in which the people of Europe engage in the debate about what kind of powers the EU should have, and how these should be exercised. The EU doesn't need the Lisbon Treaty to survive - it needs a radical rethink, and the Irish referendum is the first step towards (and last hope for) real change for the better.