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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