Come Clean Please

Lawmaking apart, the two sessions of the state legislature being held in Jammu and Srinagar are very useful for a common man. It sometimes leads to revelations about governance and the crisis in the system. Whether or not it helps mend the system, it does, however, help commoners to understand how they are being governed.

Take the case of corruption which almost every individual within the state is terming as serious as cancer eating upon the vitals of the system that is supposed to protect the institutions and govern as per the law. Everybody is preaching against the corruption but it still stays as part of the society’s routine, especially in the governing structure.

In the on-going assembly session, the government revealed that four ministers in the incumbent coalition and six former ministers are facing charges in the State Accountability Commission (SAC). This institution was set up to take care of the corruption at high places, especially in the political circles. Initially, SAC had 458 cases with it but 282 cases were transferred to the State Vigilance Commission (SVC). Another revelation is that most officers with cases pending against them in the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) are fighting the cases while holding the high offices. They are from IAS and KAS cadres that make the main ruling elite in the state.

Probing complaints of corruption takes a long time. The systems of corruption have been innovated to a level that it is very difficult to prove it and more difficult to ensure a conviction. This has made battle against corruption a very difficult process and a zero sum game.

But how can a state that is shifting its ranks from one to two and vice versa in the scale of most corrupt Indian states fight corruption when it has institutions lacking a will? In fact, it was a Himalayan battle over who was going to head the anti-corruption watchdog SVC. While the principal opposition went against the idea of one person’s appointment for very specific reasons, the ruling coalition bulldozed its way to get him the boss’s throne.

The government must start cleansing the rot. Why it can’t ask the ministers to stay out of the council unless they are cleared of the charges? This will add to the pressures of SAC to perform fast. Same could be the done with the top officers who should get less-important posting till they are cleared of the charges. The systems in vogue are contributing to the zero-sum game but not permitting the theories of natural justice to take course. This is going to be suicidal for a society already wrecked by strife and political tensions. As the elections are round the corner, is it possible that Kashmir’s two main parties deny mandate to the corrupt? Can it happen when the principal opposition is embracing the indicted into the party?

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