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‘Lokpal movement drifting towards direct democracy’

NAC member,Madhav Gadgil,said that the Jan Lokpal has not yet been discussed among the committee members.

Even as social activist and National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy is ready to present her version of the Lokpal Bill,another NAC member,Madhav Gadgil,said that the Jan Lokpal has not yet been discussed among the committee members.

Gadgil says the agitation is veering towards ‘direct democracy’.

Even as one of their members was drafting the bill,they had not actually sat down to evaluate it,said Gadgil.

He said that in a democracy,individuals had the right to protest and their opinions should be considered as per democratic rules. Not exactly supporting or opposing the Hazare movement,Gadgil said that as a citizen of the country,he strongly felt that a strong system should be in place for benefit of all citizens.

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He spelt out initiatives taken by the US where citizen’s initiatives are considered and certain drafts are readied and put forth by citizens.

He said that the present wave is on the lines of direct democracy,a book by the same name that asked questions on existing political systems. Gadgil,in an overview of the book,said that the book addresses issues of the present political systems and how they are at odds with principles of popular sovereignty.

The book details a small group of party leaders making major decisions. Public debate on our future flares up during elections,after which citizens are compelled to stand on the sidelines for another four years. Surveys show large proportion of the population has lost faith in political institutions. Can such a political system produce solutions for major issues of these times? The author of the book shows how introduction of direct democracy can return sovereignty to people. Gadgil says that even though there are rights given to gram panchayats and the gramsabhas trough amendments to the Constitution,they were not being implemented. “Few states like Kerala follow the amendments in letter and spirit and give the decision-making process to members,’’ he notes.

He said he has not read the bill readied by Team Anna or Aruna Roy so therefore will not want to comment on it but he is sure a strong system to weed out corruption will evolve. While Roy has openly disapproved of the Hazare campaign stating that democratic institutions should not be derided and getting rid of these institutions would be a great disaster for the entire nation.

First published on: 25-08-2011 at 01:48 IST
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