No we aren’t!
We fool ourselves thinking we are!
Sure, we have elections every four or five years, and just because we fill Parliament with elected representatives we feel we’ve done our bit for democracy. But it’s not just Parliament that has to be filled or a bigger, fancier Parliament building we need to build. No, we need more courts all across our land! In a democracy, Parliament and Courts need to be well balanced. In our country there is no balance at all.
We have a constitution, solid and secure; but courts, sluggish, slow and sleeping! So what is the use of a constitution if its tenets cannot be upheld?
Elections are almost always on time, but justice in courts, never. So, our elected reps act as judges, which means the might of a majority vote prevails. Numbers win: Majority opinion whether it is right or wrong takes precedence over whether the opinion is based on truth.
There is no attempt whatsoever to rectify this imbalance because the wily politician knows if there are more courtrooms and more judges, then the law is strengthened and his power diminishes. In our country this imbalance has been allowed so subtly that when we hear a case takes twenty years to be settled we think mistakenly we have too many cases.
Wrong. It is not too many cases but too few judges.
We do not need Anna Hazares to weed out corruption, we need you and me insisting on more courts, thousands and thousands of them. As soon as this happens cases will be resolved faster and people will be afraid to break the law.
Today the rich and powerful are not afraid to do illegal things, because they know judgement day is far away and by that time witnesses are bought, many turn hostile and finally in frustration the poorer party even with absolute right on their side move towards a ‘compromise’ or an ‘out of court settlement’ which is generally a victory for the one with more muscle and more money!
I listened to a friend of mine telling me once how a real estate broker, broke in and occupied his empty house in the suburbs. “After the tenth year of fighting Bob,” my friend told me wearily, “I realized the case would be settled only after my death, so I paid him twenty lakhs to get out!”
It was a sad story but the story of thousands in our country.
Ask for more courts, write about it, talk to others about it, and start a ‘more courts thought process’, because we need to free our law and our Constitution.
Till then we are fools to call ourselves a Democracy..!
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