India: Moral And Legal Battles Against Corruption – OpEd


From today, India will be witnessing two non-violent battles against corruption — the legal battle in the Parliament in New Delhi and the moral battle in Mumbai.

The objective of the legal battle will be to give legal shape to the anti-corruption infrastructure through the Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government for debate and approval with changes, if and where necessary, by the elected members of the Lok Sabha representing the will and the expectations of the voters of this country who chose to elect them in their wisdom in the elections held in 2009.

The objective of the moral battle, led by Anna Hazare for nearly a year now, will be to impart strength to the legal battle and to ensure that the legal battle gives birth to an anti-corruption infrastructure befitting the nation and the need of the hour to slay the demon of corruption which has stood in the way of the nation moving forward towards its goal of taking its due place in the comity of nations as a modern, developed power which is not afraid of admitting and correcting its deficiencies, the most serious of which is corruption.

If the national will has to ultimately prevail, it is important that the power of the Parliament as symbolised by the elected representatives and of the civil society as symbolised by Anna and his followers and a myriad of other non-governmental forces, each as worthy of respect as Anna and his movement, emerge successful from these two battles.

The two battles will be fought not against each other, but unitedly against the common enemy of corruption. The moral and legal dimensions of the battle are equally important. Neither can afford to weaken the other. If the moral dimension is weakened, the legal dimension cannot expect to prevail effectively. If the legal dimension is weakened, the moral dimension cannot expect to emerge stronger.

The elected representatives of the country and its moral representatives owe it to the nation to ensure that each does not undermine the other in their false pride and ego. This is not the time for false pride and ego. This is the time for rising to the occasion and realising and admitting that healthy accommodation of each other’s point of view is the need of the hour if the nation has to win the battle against corruption ultimately.

The nation expects the two forces in New Delhi and Mumbai to reinforce each other through mutual accommodation and mutual goodwill and not try to vanquish each other.

Will they do so? If not, the demon of corruption may be the ultimate beneficiary.

B. Raman

B. Raman (August 14, 1936 – June 16, 2013) was Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.

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