Sunday, July 18, 2010

Law-makers, Law-enforcers and the Common Man

I am a very ordinary citizen, a home maker, who hardly tries to meddle with the law of the land, and have not really asked for many rights from anyone leave alone the government. Have always tried to be as good a citizen as can possibly be while trying to mind my own business, paying my taxes and bills on time.

And surely I'm not the exception. In this vast democracy of usually law-abiding citizens, people as a rule do not actually dare to meddle with anyone's affairs anyway. We are conditioned very early in life to rest assured that no harm can come to us because we are lucky to be born in a democratic country, where the Constitution has promised us some basic fundamental rights.

Those who do not have the first hand knowledge and experience with the working of the system, believe in this sacred sermon, but are surely and sadly indeed, in for a shock at their first brush with the law and judiciary.

There have been numerous instances where law and order has shown itself to be in a state of decay. Here I am not talking of how inefficiently both NDA and UPA governments have been tackling the terrorist menace. With absolute power at their disposal, they let themselves appear as sitting ducks, saying shamelessly that there cannot be a foolproof system to check terrorism. I put on record that I am not satisfied with this lame excuse. But for the moment let that be.

Just days back the nation saw a wailing mother who had lost her son because the child could not get medical aid on time. This was beacuse the road and traffic was blocked for the Prime Minister and his entourage to pass.

I could not bear to see this piece of news on television, but in the evening Sardesai and Vikram, on their respective channels, sat dissecting the unfortunate event, the guests even putting "ifs" n "buts" to the story, saying "...if this is true..." etc etc...
Can there be more cruel heartless rogues than in the bureaucracy and the corporate world?
What happened to IndiraJi or RajivJi inspite of all the security?!!
And Madhavrao Scindia, Rajesh Pilot and some others like them? Are we to believe that they were killed in accidents?

I don't think anyone from among the common people going about their daily routine, has the time or the inclination to see which VIP or V VIP is going in which car. The best security measure for our endangered political class would be to travel silently in an ordinary Maruti 800 without fanfare. And also dress up like normal people.
Let the PM, CM and such other VIPs who call themselves the peoples' representatives also experience traffic snarls and potholes. At least the wait at a signal would perhaps introduce them to the people they represent.

Also let me be a little blunt and ask a question that nags each one of us:
Has a PM, CM or other VIPs come to live eternally on this planet?
And if one day they also have to die why are they so scared? Why do they make others die instead of them?

Rules should be for the smooth running of the system, and to ease the peoples' distress. But usually, under the pretext of following rules and abiding by the law, the common man is thoughtlessly harassed, be it at traffic signals or various government offices, making him distraught and disillusioned.

My younger son's name has been entered wrong in his class XII marksheet. To just get one word corrected my son and I have been running from pillar to post for the last one year, and the officers admit that it is a genuine case, but they cannot help, "rules have tied our hands", says the senior most officer who now has to sign the papers. So I am back to square one and do not know what to do.

It is time we become more practical and instead of asking for new rules and laws, let us ask for the existing ones to become more friendly to the common man. And then let these better laws be implemented too in the right spirit. The basic question that needs an urgent answer is:
Are the laws there to kill and trouble the people or to save their life, property and honour and to help them live in peace?

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