The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday, 2 September 2013


*“Why democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”
August 2013

The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2013: When on June 3, the Central Information Commission (CIC), in a landmark decision, had ruled that the political parties considerably funded by public money were public authorities and so were under the purview of the Right to Information Act, we all knew it was just a matter of days when a morally weak and anti-reformist political class would come with some amendment or ordinance to kill the pro-reform decision.

Though, as per the pointers of the CIC ruling, according to the criteria of being a public authority as delineated in the detailed decision, only six political parties came under it, but when it came to kill the spirit of the ruling, the whole political fraternity, the members of which on surface look sworn enemies, came together to demand some amendment or move to annul the CIC order. Not even a single political party was in vocal support of the CIC ruling.

And within two months, on August 1, the Union Cabinet cleared the ‘tailored’ amendments in the RTI Act to invalidate the CIC ruling by changing the definition of the ‘public authority’ to keep the political parties out of the Act (or to keep them immune from the rightful public scrutiny). 

According to a media report then: “Under Section 2 of the RTI Act, the definition of public authority in the proposed amendment will make it clear that 'it shall not include any political party registered under the Representation of the Peoples Act'.”

While the CIC’s landmark (and desperately required) ruling concluded: “In view of the above discussion, we hold that INC, BJP, CPI(M), CPIO, NCP and BSP have been substantially financed by the Central Government under section 2(h)(ii) of the RTI Act. The criticality of the role being played by these Political Parties in our democratic set up and the nature of duties performed by them also point towards their public character, bringing them in the ambit of section 2(h).    The constitutional and legal provisions discussed herein above also point towards their character as public authorities.  The order of the Single Bench of this Commission in Complaint No. CIC/MISC/2009/0001 and CIC/MISC/2009/0002 is hereby set aside and it is held that AICC/INC, BJP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP and BSP are public authorities under section 2(h) of the RTI Act.”

So logical and so required in the prevailing sociopolitical circumstances when the ‘general perception that the whole political class is corrupt’ has become almost absolute, to the extent that it has become akin to a norm, a norm making politicians synonymous with corruption.

And the political response to the CIC ruling validates this strengthening general perception. If even a trace of morality was left in the political class, it would have welcomed this step to promote transparency, to come out clear.

With funding, earnings and expenditure running into billions of Rs and enjoying multiple facilities from the government agencies, the indiscriminate run of the finances of the political parties must come under the public scrutiny to ensure transparency. Answerability to the public - it becomes all the more important with an Indian politics that is deeply soaked in corruption.

But an increasingly dictatorial political class finds it difficult to think on such moral lines. Instead, whenever there is a move, either by the public or by some Constitutional institutions like the Supreme Court or the CIC or the Election Commission, the whole political class unites to thwart it.

That is clearly visible yet again, when in this case, to thwart the landmark ruling by the CIC, the political class, that takes decades to pass important bills of common man’s concern like bills for women’s reservation or Lokpal, is moving swiftly to pull the plug.

On August 1, the Union Cabinet cleared the amendments. On August 12, it was tabled in Lok Sabha. The amendment bill could not be discussed when it was scheduled to be but its passage looks imminent in the Monsoon session of the Parliament that ends on September 6.   
Though there are demands to send the amendment bill to a Parliamentary Standing Committee to invite wider public participation before it is passed, no one should expect that our elitist politicians would allow any such move, what if it erodes the already debilitated credibility of Indian Democracy even more.   

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -