INDIA UNDER INQUIRY!
India under inquiry can be a fair status of the governance and the nation. It has gone on for at least a few decades, sometimes a little more and at other times a little less. It has been made to believe that it is ephemeral but it has become the body politic of the nation In reality, it is giving a body blow to the democratic body politic. Everyday there is a demand for an inquiry or investigation in some part or on some issue in this country. What does inquiry mean; a seeking or request for truth, information or knowledge. It also means an investigation, as into an incident, like a congressional inquiry in the US or a joint parliamentary committee in India. The act of inquiring in a different context means seeking information by questioning or interrogation. Simply put, as it appears in the public domain, in the citizen’s outpourings, is a question or a query.
If we add up all the legal and administrative connotations of inquiry and its practice, India is a country under inquiry siege. From the days of the Shah Commission in 1977, the commissions of enquiry have had their own place in Indian democracy. There are a variety of methods in which inquiries are conducted but suffice to say that more often than not the government, its cronies, its officials and its agencies are mainly the subject of inquiry. The situation is exactly the opposite of ”Ceasar’s wife must be above suspicion.” The government of a nation which is both supreme and sovereign has been brought into a daily legal fracas, is where we have brought ourselves to. Though there have been no effort to add it up into a concrete figure; all types of inquiries and investigations where governments etc. are the subject, it can give you a fair report card of the responsive and an acceptable nature of the government, at any point in time.
How does the inquiry or investigation get ordered? There would hardly be an occasion when it happens on its own. It is generally the result of a public outcry, some tussle amongst the persons enjoying power & authority, judicial directive or to douse a situation going out of hand. Some methods of protests happen the legislature way as well, leading the issue to be pushed in the inquiry mode. In the recent wash out Monsoon session of the parliament, the demand for an inquiry was the cause of the disaster. In another weird scenario an ex. state home minister and an ex. Police Commissioner are neck deep into the inquiry / investigation. At one point in time, they provided seamless police administration to the maximum city. Appointments and transfers leading to inquiry / investigation is a quagmire we have landed into, with no end in sight.
From custodial deaths to encounters presumed to be fake, to interception of privacy, to procurement to even unwarranted behavior, to communal riots, to enforcement of laws, to lockdowns, enactment of laws – protests; nothing moves without an inquiry. Whether it speaks of a breakdown of the system or the faith in it, only political pundits can tell. One thing is for sure, the credibility and integrity of the executive hangs by on a slender balance. Inquiry has a variety which can make a shopping mall envious; magisterial, judicial, parliamentary & legislature committees, commissions of enquiry, CBI, CID, official enquiry committees, departmental enquiries, court monitored investigations / inquiries et al. What have they all delivered can become the terms of reference of yet another commission of inquiry. Can executive delivery ever happen in this manner?
ALL PERVASIVE INQUIRY CULTURE IS AN ALL PERVASIVE DEMOCRATIC SEIZE.