The Jan Lok Pal Bill has copious support but what intrigues the unbiased observer is the inconvenience caused to the common man that these protagonists claim to be a part of. Despite regular claims by Anna Hazare and his kin, day to day life in parts where protests took place was heavily disrupted.
Traffic jams, mass bunks and shut down of educational institutions were the most visible effects of the Jan Lok Pal movement. India Gate the epicenter of New Delhi was marred by heavy blockages in traffic kinesis, Ishan Raina, resident of Patparganj was stuck in hours long traffic jams whilst returning from Chanakyapuri.
Similar situations arose at Civil Lines, Ekta Handa, a student at IP College for women had to rush back home via the metro due to the oncoming crowds in the locality. Areas where the peaceful march was to take place resulted in disrupted chores and traffic jams.
In Lucknow, groups of students from KKC, National College and activists from Vyapar Mandal and India against Corruption Lucknow chapter amongst others carried out a protest march from Old city to Jhule lal Park.
According to a Press release issued by India Against Corruption, Lucknow University colleges faced mass shutdown due to teachers opting for a mass leave to support Anna Hazare’s movement.
Students in Arunachal Pradesh stalled traffic movement on the vital NH 52-A in the North East. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi faced similar crisis.
This was just a whiff of civilians disturbed by the ‘Peaceful Protest’ by team Hazare. Further universities and colleges faced mass bunks or forced shut downs with students in large numbers refusing to attend any educational institutions due to the mass SMS and social networking campaign promulgated by Team Hazare.
It was interesting to find that a majority of the protesters were in support of eliminating corruption. But it was hard to find an individual who had ideally studied the Jan Lok Pal Bill. Slogans demanding immediate release of Anna Hazare and elimination of corruption roared across the streets but it was hard to find an individual who would elucidate the intricacies of the bill.
Intriguing was the fact that a majority of college going students were unaware of the bill they were adamantly vouching for.
They were unable to answer simple questions pertaining to the selection process of the Lok Pal. Amusingly, a slight discussion on any chances of the Lok Pal or members of the committee failing due to corruption resulted in sentiments flaring and claims of someone doing something for us being used as excuses.
Interestingly the Lok Pal and Lok Aayukts will be elected by a Lok Pal Committee, which in turn will be a group comprised of members appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
But who would decide the eligibility of these individuals is an enigma. The Jan Lok Pal Bill in its’ current form would ridicule the constitution. Residing in a democratic state has given us the liberty to choose our legislators and legal education to create bright and efficient lawyers and judges. Giving an unelected individual supreme authority over an elected candidate seems indigestible from a rational overview.
Putting the Prime Minister and Supreme Court Judges under the ambit of the Lok Pal can result in an autocratic state. Further, it would result in a form of government that would be at the whims of individuals who won’t be answerable to the populace and hence would defeat the purpose of democracy itself. The government cannot be blackmailed into submitting to specious demands.