Saturday, 31 March 2012


By Justice Markandey Katju

I had been keeping silent throughout the Anna Hazare Movement for creating a Lokpal (Janlokpal) because the media (particularly electronic media) had so much hyped the issue and generated such an emotional storm that anyone who would have raised some logical questions would have immediately been branded as a ‘deshdrohi’ or ‘gaddar’. Anna Hazare was depicted as a modern messiah, who, like Moses, had come to rescue his chosen people and lead them to a land of honey and milk.
            Now that the brouhaha and hullabaloo has subsided it is time to make a cool, dispassionate, logical assessment of Mr. Hazare and his movement.
            I have no doubt that Anna Hazare is an honest man, but my point is that the problems facing the country (and corruption is certainly one of them) are so massive that they can only be solved by a rational, scientific approach, not by emotional outbursts.  Honesty alone is not enough.
            So far as I could gather, Anna Hazare has no scientific ideas. Consider two of his statements:
1.     His solution to alcoholism is to tie alcoholics to a pole and whip them. Is this a rational solution? Most poor people who drink liquor in this country drink cheap country liquor, not scotch. They drink to get some temporary relief from their miserable lives. To abolish alcoholism among them would be possible only by abolishing poverty, and that can be done by raising their standard of living and giving them decent lives. This is a gigantic task, and cannot be solved by flogging them in public.
2.     Anna Hazare demands a right to recall elected representatives. But how is that possible within the system? Supposing a law is made that a motion can be moved for recall of an M.L.A. or M.P. signed by 10,000 voters. But for getting this motion passed there will have to be voting by all the voters in the constituency. This would mean another election. Is this feasible? An election entails a huge amount of expenditure, can a poor country like ours have repeated elections? I think the idea is totally impractical.
           Now coming to the Lokpal Bill, whether Janlokpal Bill or Sarkari Lokpal Bill, it envisages overseeing the work of some 55 lac government employees in the country (of which 13 lacs are in the Railways alone), from Prime Minister to peon. Surely one person cannot enquire into the lacs of complaints which are bound to pour in. It will require thousands of Lokpals, may be 50,000 of them to do this. All these have to be provided salaries and other amenities, housing, offices, staff etc. And then where is the guarantee that these will not themselves become corrupt? In fact considering the low level of morality prevailing in India, we can be fairly certain that a large number of them will become blackmailers.   In my opinion, the Lokpal Bill will create a parallel bureaucracy, which will turn into a Frankenstein monster. Instead of curtailing corruption, in all probability at a stroke it will double or triple corruption in the country.
            I regret to say that the implications of creating such an apparatus were not rationally thought out, and instead some people thought that all problems of corruption will be solved by shouting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ or ‘Inquilaab Zindadbad’ from Jantar Mantar or Ram Lila Ground.   
            I may clarify that I am not against any kind of Lokpal. Justice Hegde did a fantastic job in exposing the corruption of the mining mafia in Karnataka. But the type of Lokpal envisaged in the Janlokpal Bill or Government Lokpal Bill are clearly impractical and unworkable.
            I would therefore respectfully urge Parliament to defer consideration of the Bill before it and refer the matter to a Standing Committee (as Shri Lalu Yadav has suggested) where experts from various fields in the country and outside be invited to give their views, and only then a workable Lokpal machinery can be created. Passing Bills in a hurry and under pressure of some people having their own agenda will only add to the huge problems facing the country.      


  1. Probably it makes much more sense to propose some constructive solutions to tackle the corruption.

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  2. Sir, to eradicate corruption give citizens their needs speedy-lawfully. To get speed , Govt give authority to every officers in a office. No junior or senior. No head or assistant. All are equal responsibility. Now even in a village office, there is one officer and he is responsible for sanction. Only one man -officer-has the Power and this leads to corruption. Suppose in a village office every govt servant bears the authority to give sanction how can they corrupt?

  3. IMHO, I think Mr Katju, You are wrong ...What is Lokpal...It is police to monitor/investigate Govt servants. Why is there a need for Lokpal? It is reqd because police as we know today in all practical circumstances works "FOR" Govt and its employees.
    Police as of today monitors 121 crore people. We do not need to monitor 121 crore people. We just need to monitor the interface of those 121 people to governance and that interface is nothing but 50 lac govt employees. Police which can monitor 100 times less people(50 crore vs 50 Lac) will surely be more effective. One big problem today is that the entire justice system is pathetically slow, error prone, corrupt and malafide. One big problem with justice system is shoddy investigation which can carry on for years and years. Such a problem will not exist in case of Lokpal machinery, because it will be a system targeted towards specific set of educated and identified people and hence will be much more effective that normal people. Your logic is that what is machinery goes corrupt. If i was to accept that logic, why have police in the first place. As it is police does no job. As for law and order we can have a security force and that is it. Your logic is thus flawed. That said, what i do concur is that investigation is not always the best way to stop corruption. Investigations(how so ever fair they may be) leave a lot of scope for both harassment of innocent and chance for corrupt to escape.

    Thus treating corruption as a investigation and justice problem though looks promising for higher ups, but is less than ideal solution.Moreoevr 2G has exposed that there is now way you can prove corruption happened, because everything happened under the guise of Govt right to frame any policy. THe money transfer happened abroad or in means not identifiable with-in India.

    What we need is a system which does not allow corruption to happen in the first place. I have written a write up and proposed a idea on my face book page in that regard. I shall post it here as well:

    We all have been talking about use of lokpal to remove/control corruption.
    There is also a parallel campaign run by Baba Ramdev for black money stashed abroad.

    However we also know that there a lot of black money within India. Estimates are that we have 1 trillion USD of black money in India, and all of it runs as a parallel economy. Now 1 trillion USD is about Rs 50 trillion, which is 50 Lac Crores. This amount more than half of our GDP. Our country’s fiscal deficit is about 15% of GDP. So even if 50% of this internal black money is retrieved, we will not only get rid of all our fiscal deficit, but also have a huge leverage to doing massive infrastructure projects. These are just the direct benefits. There are numerous indirect benefits too.

    So here is my proposal=>

    1. Why the hell was my proposal removed from website..

  4. Justice Katju,

    it'll be great if you please stop giving opinions on everything and instead focus on the affairs of the Press.

    while you are entitled to your opinions, airing them from the chair of the Press Council Chairman, presents a conflict of interest.

    please focus your energies on the behavior of the media instead of commenting on every indian (anna hazare, dev anand movies, salman rushdie books, javed akhtar/gulzar poems, 90% indians being fools etc).


    what is your position on the following? and what are you doing to further progress on those issues?

    1. paid news.
    2. ownership of news media by political parties or people related to politicians.
    3. salary and working conditions of reporters.
    4. quality of the language(s) used by the media.
    5. waste of tax payers money in advertisements glorifying the executives in the government or dead ones for that matter.
    6. allowing foreign direct investment in print media industry.
    7. unifying print and electronic media (broadcasting) councils so that standards are uniform and high.

    and btw, since you talk of the scientific mind, you may want to personally request outstanding scientists/intellectuals to write columns/op-eds more often, so that people are educated. for example, if you yourself had written a series of articles last year on the legal and logistical problems in creating a Lokpal, the debate in the media and the country would have been slightly better than what it was.

  5. I think justice katju is doing a superb job

  6. sir,may be u r right but more than 70% of the people with anna hazare.its not possible that all of them r wrong and rest 30% are which u also comes.everyone knows our politicians.after so many times something happening for a good cause.its my request frm my heart to u pls support.people like u needed in this country for magical change.and its possible if people like u join the movement.bcoz himmat-e-marda to madad-e-khuda.