Monthly Archives: October 2012

A ‘sense of contract’

A ‘sense of contract’ is absent from our polity, and in the conduct of our society. At best, negotiated settlements driven by desperation – An absence of the enforcement of ‘rule of law’ are norm.

The jugaad and the ‘manage it’ construct become the overriding operative principles.

In the absence of any committed deliverables, and the impossibility of finding compensation or recompense in their absence, the citizen is forced to resort to this idiom.

Unrealized credit in business, vitiated contracts, non delivery of civic and private services, no punishment for crime, non settlement of civil conflicts for years on end, failure to deliver justice via courts, no punishment and compensation for dereliction of duty are the norm and we have learnt to live with it.

The laws that are made are practiced more in the breach than to safeguard. Perhaps they are designed to be transgressed and then ‘settled.’

IAC’s Vision Document, well meaning as it is, will not change this. High on one public sentiment versus the other; it’s an emotionally powerful document that will, if realized, leave us where we are.

Will courts begin to deliver justice swiftly? Will bounced cheques be dealt with appropriately? Will payments in business be realized? And if defaulted be dealt with, will non delivery of civic services come under Torts jurisprudence? Will a non- corrupt inefficient and callous public servant or private service provider, be made to compensate for your time and money? Will ‘call drops’ be compensated for if you suffer losses? Will endless running to government offices be resolved even if no corruption is involved? The laws relating to conduct rules of civil servants, tendering process etc which exemplify delays in our public utilities remain unchanged.  Laziness, lack of commitment, callousness and inefficiency cannot be taken to the LOKPAL. A colonial bureaucracy and a feudal political order will retain its ground, simply because they can remain callous even if they are not corrupt.

But these are the bedrock of corruption in our country, whose Constitution is derived from western democracies that value commitment and enforcing the rule of law, and not dealing with its absence by ‘managing it.’

Half our energies go into battling stupidity, callousness, and inefficiency, only to be told ‘let it be, that is the way it is.’

The conduct of our affairs remain in the realm of the crony, friendly, religious, caste, social and tribal orders. Not a great way to be!

This vision document and existing manifestos will keep us where we are, wasting our time on dealing with daily inefficiency, till we can simply instill in our polity a ‘sense of contract.’