Political Probity

We have a system steeped in the mud of corruption

Probity appears to have moved out to the back-burner and politicians do not care a fig for values! There can be many reasons for political degradation and of late the coalition politics has plagued the system not only with increased levels of corruption but pretentiousness and ego as well. In such indistinct situation every political entity within the system treats him-self absolved of all moral responsibilities and above every law of the land.

In 2006 the institution of accountability under the aegis of ‘Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission’ was in its nascent stage and people had lot of expectations from this institution of reliability. In summer of 2006 I mustered enough courage to seek justice against wrongdoings and practice of favoritism by certain political functionary of cabinet minister rank. Since then the process of accountability and the institution of accountability has faced many ups and downs, so was the fate of my plea. For last six years I follow my petition religiously, but the long tunnel of justice and transparency is eluding me cunningly. I had never anticipated that in existing imprecise system my conception of justice will be so thin and as a result I may have to go through a rigorous legal and political grind. At occasions my opponents resorting to manipulative tactics in league with their masters and cronies condemned me as a risk to society. Several times my genuine pleas were interpreted as contemptuous acts with a demand for legal proceedings against me. In these six long years the concerned public functionary of political ancestry was never asked to explain any of accusations against him, instead many other souls  of lesser importance were put into legal grind. This is how arrogance of political power with no regard for values can be defined in a nutshell.  Currently, Political coalition in Jammu and Kashmir is at its peak and every stake holder is extracting a great deal of advantage from its clout, plunging the system into state of despondency.

Misconduct and rampant corruption on part of, not all, but a select few is literally visible and compulsions of coalition dharma makes it difficult to tame them. Inability, distraction and lack of credibility loom large over the legitimate leadership, rendering administrative apparatus more inclined to ineffectiveness. During the last two tenures of coalition rule several ministers were either accused or indicted for charges of misconduct and corruption, excepting a single minister accused of impersonation no one either resigned of his own on moral grounds or was sacked in-line with the rich political values and traditions. Coalitionist immunity has made them supercilious and answerable to none. Recent instance of accused misconduct by a particular minister and other cases of accusation of corruption by party colleagues’ against another minister has blotted the whole political atmosphere in the state. How far accusations are right only proper investigation will get this murky situation to some logical conclusion? But political integrity demands that no public functionary should cling to his office till he is not absolved of all charges of misconduct. Political functionaries are role models and in public life their tarnished image will have adverse effect on the society. Leadership’s inability to act against these functionaries will do no good to democracy; instead this whole period of coalition years will be read as dark period for democracy in Kashmir. On one hand we boast of our commitment to democracy and on the other hand it is being robbed of its essence—equality. There cannot be several yardsticks for punishment and immunity and many barometers to judge people on the basis of their political clout and affiliation. Justice means justice and has to be delivered without any fear or favor, ill will or malice.

These ministers took camouflage under tricky and ambiguous situation of coalition; manipulating every rule and norm in their favor. This is ridicules and in no way acceptable in modern-day age of complete transparency. Even in murky Indian political scenario there are certain standards of probity and no politician is allowed to fiddle with the fundamentals of political decency.  Their sham conduct has made mockery of government’s efforts of accountability and transparency through RTI (right to information) act and other legislations of accountability.  Unfortunately, when lawmakers turn into law-breakers the situation can be defined in only one word—chaotic. No leadership for the past one decade can be absolved of political complaisance towards its political partners, encouraging such practice into an awkward political tradition.

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