"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two rights making it wrong

Two rights (correct) are pitted against each other with a potential of resulting in a wrong in the present anti-corruption movement in India. The team Anna Hazare is pitting the race on the principle that power lies with the people, team Kapil Sibal on the other hand on the legislative power of the Parliament in a representative democracy.

We are handed down with two versions of the Lokpal Bills; official as well as civil society. Each faction arguing against the other to gain acceptance. The competing versions interestingly have same declared objects, the means and ways though differ.

In a representative democratic set up where people are in effect alienated from the actual law making, resulting in disenchantment about the democratic structure, it is important to have the channels of deliberations open. The Lokpal debate probably was the first that attracted public attention of considerable magnitude in a legislative attempt. This has established a healthy convention.

On the turf, seemingly the two factions are lost on the fundamentals of deliberation in democracy and attempt to arm twist the other. Both of them are right at their own spaces but these two rights seemingly are not making things go right. This is a historic time where people's aspirations on legislative exercises could be merged with ideal functioning of representative democracy in law making. Both factions need to assimilate the principles of deliberative democracy and come to a logical conclusion where the aspirations of the people gets reflected in the legislation made, bridging the disconnect between the law makers and the actual (figurative now) power holders. If we let this opportunity lose, history will not condone the actors for playing out with two rights and generating a wrong.

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