CATCH THE BULL BY ITS HORNS
DEMOCRACY IN INDIA: A FARCE AND A SHAM AND THE WAY OUT
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: IT IS NOW TIME TO ACT
Hon’ble Chief Justice of India & Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court,
1. I, Colonel SS Rajan, a Military Veteran and a proud citizen of Bharathvarsh, born on 13 Oct 1944, was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army on 30 June 1963 and retired as Additional Chief Engineer on 31 Oct 1996, after an illustrious career spanning over thirty three years. I served as a Company Commander (Major) of an Engineer Construction Company in the Jessore-Khulna sector, in the Eastern Theatre, during the 1971 War with Pakistan, culminating in the liberation of Bangladesh.
2. The people of Bharatvarsh, the largest Democracy in the world, gave unto themselves a Constitution which came into effect on 26 Jan 1950. Abraham Lincoln defined Democracy as, ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’. But after 63 years of Independence, what is it that we see on the ground? The reality is, Democracy in India has been subverted & sabotaged by a Gang of Four, viz. 1. The corrupt politician; 2. The corrupt Bureaucracy; 3. The corrupt Law enforcement Agencies; and, 4. The corrupt Business Houses.
3. Where are we as a Nation? The Nation today is in dire straits. The polity is being taken for a ride. The Country is being raped & looted by the Gang of Four; so much so that, today, Democracy in India is - ‘Government of the Thugs, by the Thugs and for the Thugs’.
4. What is the root cause of our ills? Though our Founding Fathers gave us a world class Constitution, they could not foresee the depths to which the people would sink to subvert & sabotage the Constitution. Our experience over the past six decades has shown that the West Minster Model of Democracy, adopted by us, on the lines of the British, is most ill suited; for, it has given way to ‘aayaa-raams & gayaa raams’, dynastic rule, extra constitutional power centres saddled with unbridled powers without a semblance of accountability or responsibility towards governance; and regional satraps weakening Central Authority under the garb of Federalism. Acquisition of land, an euphemism for robbing tribals & the poor of their mineral rich land, under the garb of exporting the ore (for a pittance) or setting up steel or nuclear plants in the name of economic development is a fraud being perpetrated not only on the poor & downtrodden; but also the Nation. The latest being forcible acquisition of land for POSCO in Orissa. The present day rulers (ie.corrupt politicians), aided & abetted by the corrupt Bureaucrats, corrupt Law enforcement agencies and the corrupt Business Houses are plundering the Country by emasculating the common man who has no one to turn to for protection, justice & fair play. It is the tyranny of the Gang of Four on the poor & down trodden; which gives rise to Naxalism. The Country today is slowly, but surely, hurtling towards chaos, anarchy & disaster.
5. What is the way out? For India to be a true & vibrant Democracy and a torch bearer of Democracy in the comity of Nations, there is an urgent need for structural changes to our Constitution, which cannot come about in the normal fashion; because the vested interests (read the Gang of Four) would brook no changes to the existing setup; for, it suits them fine in looting the Nation and in emasculating the masses. The recent developments in Egypt and West Asia should be an eye opener to our present day rulers. But would they heed the warning? NO.
6. Am I suggesting Army Rule? NO and a resounding NO. Nothing can be more disastrous for this Country than Army rule; for, it must be realized that no country, I repeat, no country has ever progressed or prospered under Army rule. One does not have to go very far to realize the truth. Pakistan, Bangladesh & Burma are glaring examples as to what depth the Country can sink under Army rule. Army is like a deadly snake, the Cobra. It is best to deploy the Cobra on the borders of the Country; so that whenever there is a requirement or necessity, the Cobra would raise its hood and hiss loudly & spit venom to keep our enemies at bay. But, if you invite the Cobra inside the house to get rid of the rats (the Gang of Four); thereafter, who will get rid of the Cobra and ask it to return to its barracks? As a corollary, Army ought to be deployed within the Country, in aid to civil power, only in rare cases and not as a matter of routine. If the Army is deployed in aid to civil power, every now & then, the Army would lose its sting or potency; and over a period of time, turn into a Police Force.
7. Structural Changes Recommended to the Constitution.
(a) The present West Minster model be replaced; and, switch over to Presidential form of Govt. at the Centre; with Governors in the States. The tenure of President and Governors shall be restricted to four years; with the proviso that no person can serve as President or Governor for more than two terms.
(b) The tenure of the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures be restricted to four years and that no Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of the State Legislative Assembly (MLA) can serve for more than two terms of four years each, ie. either two terms as MLA totaling eight years or two terms as an MP, totaling eight years; or, one term as a MLA for four years and one term as an MP for four years, totaling eight years. Such a step would result in drastically reducing corruption and encourage probity in public life.
(c) 10% of the seats be reserved for women and 15% of the seats be reserved for Ex-Servicemen in the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures; which would have all round salutary effect on Democratic norms & functioning.
(d) Service in the Armed Forces, viz. Army, Navy & Air Force for a minimum period of five years ought to be made a pre-requisite for all individuals seeking employment at all levels, both in the Central Govt. and in the State Govt.
7. Present state of our Nation. Let us look around us. Corruption is not only rampant; but has become a way of life. The Gang of Four goes around swindling the Nation with impunity and stashes their ill gotten wealth (black money) in banks abroad. They know fully well that under the present system of governance, nobody can touch them or bring them to book. Governance in the Country has come to a standstill with scam after scam surfacing every day. Look at the law & order situation in the Country. It is rape, loot, plunder & murder, day after day. What is the state of internal security? Maoists and Naxalites (backed by Nepal & China) are running amuck from North to South; and, Pakistan backed terrorists operate at will, causing chaos & mayhem, all over the Country. What is the state of External security? No one knows, except the three Service Chiefs. Their pleas to the Hon’ble Defence Minister and the Hon’ble Prime Minister for taking urgent steps to strengthen the state of Defence preparedness vis-à-vis China and Pakistan are ignored on the advice of the Defence Secretary, on the specious grounds that the fears of the Chiefs of the Army, Navy & Air Force are ill founded; and, in any case, the Country can ill afford huge Defence outlays. A military debacle vis-à-vis China, much worse than the debacle in 1962, is waiting to happen; wherein, Chinese forces shall march into India and annex Arunachal Pradesh. Who is going to pay for such a debacle when it takes place? I assure you Sirs, that it would not be the Gang of Four.
8. Surgery and Structural changes to the Constitution and who is going to order them? With black money in billions & billions of Rupees stashed in banks abroad; and, corruption being the order of the day; the present Govt. has lost its mandate to govern this Country. The present rulers are bigots and are intolerant towards even silent & peaceful protests against corruption. They have put the British and the Police action at Jallianwala Bagh to shame; by the brute & tyrannical Police action on innocent & unarmed men, women & children in the middle of the night at Ramlila Grounds, Delhi, recently. Citizens like me are mute spectators, seething with impotent rage, unable to save this Country. Today the Country has sunk to its nadir; and, it is time to say ‘Enough is Enough’. It is time to act; for if not, there would be total anarchy and bloodshed in the Country. I say, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is the last bastion of Justice, Fairplay & Democracy. If India is to survive as a Democratic Nation, our only hope is the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India. And, in the supreme interest of this Country and in the interest of the people of Bharatvarsh; and, for the survival of Democracy, I strongly recommend that the following steps be taken:
(a) Formation of an Interim Governing Council. Surgery is called for as a last resort, eg. to rid the body of cancerous growth or to replace valves in the heart, in the interest of saving the life of the person. That being so, under the present circumstances, it calls for taking unorthodox steps to safeguard Democracy and the people of India. It must be unequivocally stated that welfare & well being of the people of India is SUPREME; and hence, the Safety, Honour & Integrity of Bhartvarsh come first, always & everytime. It is therefore imperative, that, under a proclamation by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, backed by all the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and the three Service Chiefs, the present Constitution be abrogated; and, Presidency, the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the State Legislatures be dissolved; and, an Interim Governing Council be formed.
(b) Nation at the Cross roads of History. I say, Bharathvarsh and the People of India are today, at the cross roads of History. I urge the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court to act resolutely by catching the Bull by its Horns; for the sake of people of Bharathvarsh and for the survival of Democracy. I assure you Sirs, that you would have the whole hearted support & backing of a billion citizens of Bharatvarsh, whose welfare & wellbeing, you are duty bound to protect & preserve. Sirs, if you allow this moment to pass and not take any action; your muteness shall be construed as a weakness amounting to condoning the sins of the Gang of Four; and the Country shall plunge into a state of anarchy & bloodshed.
(c) Formation of an Interim Governing Council. On issue of the Proclamation by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, backed by the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court, an interim Governing Council comprising fifteen eminent citizens, experts in the field of Constitutional Law, Economics, Agriculture, Science & Technology, Atomic energy, Ecology & Environment, Medicine, Education and the three serving Chiefs of the Army, Navy & Air Force; with a mandate to rule the Country for a period not exceeding one year; by the end of which, a democratically elected Govt. headed by a President, shall be sworn in. The Chief Justice of India shall be the Chairman of the Interim Governing Council. In case during the one year tenure of the Interim Governing Council, either one or all three of the Service Chiefs are due for retirement on attaining the age of superannuation, ie. 62 years; they shall quietly retire and their place in the Interim Governing Council shall be occupied by the new Chiefs. In the event of a service chief retiring in the interregnum of one year, the senior most officer, next in line, shall take over as the Chief.
(c) Nomination of Administrators. The interim Governing Council shall nominate citizens of eminence, not exceeding eleven in number, as the President, Vice President and a Council of Ministers to administer the Country from the National Capital; and, shall nominate citizens of eminence, not exceeding seven in number, as Governor and his council of Ministers in all States, with a mandate to rule for a period not exceeding one year.
(d) Formation of a Constituent Assembly. The Interim Governing Council shall convene a Constituent Assembly comprising fifteen eminent citizens, which shall include the Chief Justice of India as its Chairman and two serving and two retired judges of the Supreme Court, well versed in Constitutional Law; to study the existing Constitution, its strengths & drawbacks, in the light of past sixty years of experience; and, recommend structural changes, that would result in Indian Democracy becoming truly vibrant and India a torch bearer of Democracy. The Constituent Assembly would be given six months time to submit its report. In the next two months, the new Draft Constitution shall be debated at all levels, ie. schools, colleges, IITs & IIMs all over the Country and in various forums, viz. FICCI, CII, etc; and if necessary, the New Draft Constitution shall be modified in the light of suggestions / recommendations resulting from discussion & debates in various forums; and, the same shall thereafter be passed by way of a referendum to be held all over the Country, with all citizens participating. The new Draft Constitution having been passed by the people by way of a referendum shall be ratified by the Governing Council; and, once ratified; the Governing Council shall task the Election Commission to hold election to the Office of President, the Vice President and Governors as per the New Constitution within a period of one hundred days; and, the new incumbents shall be sworn in, immediately thereafter. Once the new President, the Vice President and Governors have assumed office, the interim Governing Council shall stand dissolved, automatically.
(e) Structural Changes in the functioning of Autonomous Bodies. The Constituent Assembly shall form Committees or sub-committees, tasked to study and recommend structural changes to the following Organisations & Institutions, with regard to their administration & execution of their assigned roles, without external influence; so as to be truly autonomous with freedom to act & perform their duties without fear or favour; and, where need be to recommend institution of new Commissions:
(i) Election Commission meant to frame laws, rules & regulations for the smooth & timely conduct of elections; and an Election Regulatory Board to oversee the conduct of free & fair elections and to investigate and address grievances relating to electoral fraud & malpractices. The Election Commission and the Election Regulatory Board shall be independent of one another.
(ii) Vigilance Commission and a Vigilance Regulatory Board.
(iii) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
(iv) Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG).
(v) Institution of Central Intelligence Commission and Director General of Central Intelligence (DGCI), an apex body, responsible for both internal & external intelligence gathering.
(vi) Institution of Jan Lokpal at the national level and Lok Auktas at the State level.
(vii) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
(viii) National Womens Commission (NWC).
(ix) Institution of an Armed Forces Commission (AFC) with statuary powers of a Bench of the Supreme Court headed by a retired Chief Justice of India with Veterans of the Army, Navy or Air Force as members, to look after the welfare & well-being of Ex-Servicemen and amelioration of grievances of Ex-Servicemen, who today have no ‘Maai-Baap’. The Committee or Sub-committee tasked to study the requirement and formation of an AFC; shall also be tasked to study the present order of precedence of Govt Officials vis-à-vis that existed at the time of Independence (15 Aug 1947) and restore the Honour & Prestige (Izzat) of the Services, which has been over the years, mischievously & systematically downgraded by the Bureaucrats, with malicious intent, to do down the Services, ie. the Army, Navy & Air Force; amounting to heaping humiliation on the brave & valiant soldiers who have given their best to the Country, with no other thought but, Duty, Honour & Country.
(x) Police Commission to include Para-military forces, eg. CRPF, BSF, ITBP, etc. and a Regulatory Board
(xi) Institution of Agriculture Commission and a Regulatory Board.
(xii) Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
(xiii) Institution of Taxation Commission to lay down rules & regulations for taxation at various levels; and a Regulatory Board to oversee the implementation of Tax laws by the Enforcement Agencies; and recovery of Black Money stashed in banks abroad, by the Gang of Four.
(xiv) Institution of National Rivers & Highways Commission and a Regulatory Board.
(xv) Institution of a National Security Commission and a Regulatory Board.
(xvi) Institution of an Ecology & Environment Commission to frame Laws, rules & regulations with regard to land acquisition, extraction of natural resources, eg. oil & gas, mining and export of ores of metals & minerals and safeguarding forest land and natural habitat of wild life; and a Regulatory Board.
8. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court, in case you feel that what I have recommended, ie. abrogation of the present constitution is not correct or desirable; you may please consider either convening of or order the convening of a Constituent Assembly to study the existing Constitution, its strengths & drawbacks, in the light of past sixty years of experience; and, recommend structural changes, that would result in Indian Democracy becoming truly vibrant and India a torch bearer of Democracy. But, if the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court choose to be silent and be a mute spectator to the Country hurtling towards chaos, anarchy & self destruction; that would in itself be an unmitigated disaster, nay, a catastrophe.
9. Respected Sirs, in case you wish to dismiss this appeal of mine, as no more than ramblings of a 67 year old Military Veteran; before you do so, I request you to please go though the attached articles by a few eminent & knowledgeable citizens, as to the state of affairs today in our Country.
10. A soldier’s Dharma is to raise his voice and fight against injustice & tyranny; irrespective of the consequences or outcome; lest he be consigned to the dustbin of history as a Coward; for, there can be no greater ignominy for a soldier, than to be branded as a Coward.
11. To end, I must admit that, while addressing this letter to you Sirs, I am reminded of Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan, a MAN of indomitable spirit and an intrepid crusader for Justice & Democracy; who displayed guts, gumption & patriotic spirit of the highest order and had the courage of conviction to ‘call a spade a spade’ and take on ‘head on’ Gen Parvez Musharraf, the Military Dictator & self appointed President of Pakistan; fully aware that it might cost him his life in ‘the line of duty’, in protecting & preserving the nascent Democracy in Pakistan.
12. Jai Hind.
Yours most obediently,
Veteran Colonel SS Rajan