July 22, 2008, a black day for Indian democracy. The day reports that Bharatiya Janata Party legislators displayed purported bundles of currency notes in parliament, which they said [allegedly] were offered to three of their members in return for support to the government. Is it shameful?
We are all aware of the term ‘corruption; and do a lot of discussion on how to control it. It may be defined as the misuse of the public office for one’s own advantage or for the purpose of any other illegal benefits by a public servant. According to sec. 2(c) (vii) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, a public servant is, ‘any person who holds an office by virtue of which he is authorized or required to perform any public duty’. But in reality this has been seen to be abused. Every person has his/her own dignity and some fundamental rights. Corruption also affects the fundamental rights. How? It has been seen that a common (general) man fears to go to police station even when his/her right(s) is violated. Why? Because he/she does not want to face a series questioning of the police. Normally, what actually happens is, a person when goes to a police station for FIR, he/she has to struggle a lot and face a lot in order lodge his/her FIR in the order of it being properly written. If therefore suggests that we need such a body that could provide us a corruption free society. As per Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Sec. 13 (1) d (ii) of POC Act, ‘a public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct, if he, by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage’. This seems to be omnipresent be it in any police department or medical department and even in judiciary.
5 Ways To Reduce Corruption:
The question again arises how to control this increasing corruption in our country? There are several bodies that are working for a corruption free system. Here are suggested some of the tools to reduce the corruption;
- The first tool is ‘education’. With the help of education we can reduce corruption. According to a survey conducted by India today the least corrupt state is Kerala, the reason being that in Kerala literacy rate is highest in India. So we can see how education effects education. In most of the states, normally a fairly large number of people are uneducated. Those who are uneducated do not know about the process, provisions and procedures through which they can get justice. Corrupt public servants try to make fool of them and often demands for bribe. It is due to unawareness in the field of law, public rights and procedures thereof that a common and an uneducated suffer out of the corrupt society. This suggests that if we are educated, we can understand our rights well.
- We need to change the government processes. If the members of the governing body are government officials, there will certainly be less reports of the criminal cases. The reverse may be possible only when there are no more criminal politician in our government. The provision is that, if there is any case filed against a person then he would not be eligible for election. But if we see hundred politicians then about sixty percent of them would be criminal in nature. If these criminal politicians command us and make laws, what types of law would be formed, we can guess! Thus during election, we should keep in mind the person for whom we shall not vote. In India there is a provision that no person as a criminal shall be allowed as a Member of Parliament or member of legislative. Unfortunately a fairly large number of them are a part of it.
- We can reduce corruption by increasing direct contact between government and the governed. E-governance could help a lot towards this direction. In a conference on, ”Effects of Good Governance and Human Rights” organized by National Human Right Commission, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam gave an example of Delhi metro rail system and online railway reservation as good governance and said that all the lower courts should follow the explanation of the Supreme Court and High Court and make the judgments online. Similarly, Sivraj Patil said that the Right to information should be used for transparency. We have legal rights to know any information. According to this act, (Right to Information act 2005), generally people should follow the procedure of law given to then when their work is not being implemented in a proper way in public services. This act is a great help in the order to control corruption.
- Lack of effective corruption treatment is another reason. That means, instruments which are in use, are not running properly. For example Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 came into force on 9th September, 1988. But corruption is still flourishing. Why? Because of weak actions and proceedings towards corrupt people. People don’t have any fear of this act and the court. The act may thus be revised for its better implementation.
- Lack of transparency and professional accountability is yet another big reason. We should be honest to ourselves. Until and unless we will not be honest, we can’t control corruption. If each of us is honest towards our profession, then corruption will automatically decrease. We need to pay attention towards professional accountability i.e., how much we are faithful and truthful towards our profession. Corruption may be controlled by handling five major professions: lekhpal, medical, revenue, police and judicial.
5 Places Where Corruption Exists:
- Lekhpal, a government official, whose job is to examine, report and keep all records of lands. But in currently there have been a lot of cases in the court, which are based on land dispute. Why is it so? This is due to the flaws in the department of lekha vibhag. For their personal benefit, they become corrupt. As far as this department is concerned, if the people pay attention towards professional accountability, there shall be no land dispute. This would account for a fairly large number of controls over corruption.
- Another type of profession being corrupt is medical department. How? There are many government hospitals like public health centers in villages and city. There are some doctors, appointed for the treatment of the people. But in government hospital there have been seen no proper treatment for the common man. Doctors have started opening their own private clinic for earning more money. The public hospitals are lacking in enough medicines and other required facilities. Doctors may not be found on the scheduled timings. The poor people, who only depend upon the government hospitals, are suffering and they can’t afford the treatment of the private hospital. If the doctors would come in time, and in hospital there is sufficient medicines and proper treatment available, then most of the people would have been healthy. Thus doctors need to give their job professional accountability.
- Third one is the revenue department. In this department, a fairly large number of the employees are corrupt. They take bribes and leave the person who didn’t even give tax off the hook. For e.g. income tax. If every person is honest towards his/her profession then a heavy loss of Indian government may be saved.
- There is a lot of crime around us and criminals are doing their work without any fear. If police becomes serious then there will be control over corruption to the extent of nearly, say about 60-70%. They should perform their duty honestly. The day all the officers will be serious towards their profession, we may expect a corruption-free environment.
- And last but not least is the department of judiciary. We know there are several lakhs of cases which are in pending in the courts in India. The process of justice is very delayed in our country. Due to this, the numbers of cases are increasing day by day. If the proceedings are fast, people may see that if they do wrong or commit any crimes then they will have to face punishment right then. People thus will hesitate to take bribe. To recall and mention a famous quote here, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’.
The aforesaid five points may control the increasing corruption to a fairly large content. Law should be implemented with the basic justice and equality of everyone in mind.
The writers are Correspondents of Youth Ki Awaaz and students of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.