DailyPost 2015

The whole of democratic mechanism is the sum total of trust and credibility in the system. This is the true value of the system. Any democracy will function well, if it has these two propellants as its regular fuel. What would these elements score on the scale of 1 to 10, if it were to be put up for a national survey? I would not risk my reply. But the true story is known to all of us. Does the governance claim these traits or finally it has limited itself to being responsive as its final description? The issue of whether there has been a downward slide or has it always been this way? It does not make a difference, as long as we are at a stage where we should have never been.

Whether the whole of democratic governance is in the throes of the trust and credibility crisis or only some parts of it? Certainly, we should not make extrapolations as it is not healthy to do so. Without getting into generic governance, we would get into the role and image of the federal investigative agencies. They are certainly a barometer of fairness and justice to start with. Justice they say should not only be done but should also seem to be done. The Chief Justice of India’s remark tells it all. He was delivering 19th DP Kohli Memorial Lecture on CBI Foundation Day. He suggested the idea of an ”Independent Umbrella Body’ for probe agencies. About the impartiality paradigm he said, ”whey you endear yourself to powers, you will have to face the consequences.”

Hesitancy to approach the police is the antithesis to trust. Unfortunately, that is where we are. He was of the opinion that it’s time that social legitimacy and public trust be reclaimed. ”The first step to gain the same is to break the nexus with the political executive. Have they been able to negate all checks and balances of a robust and vibrant democracy? Then what is our goal? Having legal powers is not the beginning or end of anything. How can democratic values be created in it! Institutions can be created only out of this mantra. Police to be fit enough to do its job needs to stand by ethics and be united with integrity. Role of leadership can do the trick, if it has not happened, it needs introspection. Any person or group cannot claim your allegiance, however powerful they might be, it has to be the constitution and rule of law.

The credibility of investigative agencies is under deep scrutiny. Both commission and omissions raise questions so many times. We are at the crossroads of providing a path to our investigative agencies. ”Unfortunately, our investigative agencies still do not have the benefit of being guided by a comprehensive law.” The road ahead needs to be different. There are moments in history where one action redefines, or thwarts the wheeling dealing variant of the law in action. CJI said ”There is an immediate requirement for the creation of an independent umbrella institution, so as to bring various agencies like the CBI, SFIO, ED etc under one roof.” Created under a statute, it will lead to much needed legislative oversight. Missing out on ideas of robust change consolidating our constitution and ground delivery, we tend to bypass, this might be another one.

Sanjay Sahay

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