Our media refers to MPs and MLAs as lawmakers. Media would report that the lawmakers have given a statement, lawmakers have done something or lawmakers have not done something. It sounds fashionable to report about MPs and MLAs as lawmakers.
All of us know that nothing can be farthest from the truth. Why do we pretend and keep calling MPs and MLAs as lawmakers? Does it make us feel good about our own selves that we did not elect criminals though the reality is the stark opposite? Or is it that MPs and MLAs might feel bad about being called for what they actually are and our Indian culture is never about being in anyone’s face.
Criminalisation of Politics
As per Times of India report dated March 12, 2018; the Centre has informed the Supreme Court that 1,765 MPs and MLAs, or 36% of parliamentarians and state assembly members, are facing criminal trial in 3,045 cases.
Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) will keep vetting the affidavits of MPs and MLAs and keep updating the numbers. With each passing elections, the number of MPs and MLAs facing criminal trials will keep increasing.
British Laws still govern the country
The British Government made laws to run the country as per their convenience, morals and ethics. So, what happens after India gains independence? The MPs and MLAs, the so-called lawmakers, continue with the same set of laws and rules to govern the country. There are so many laws like salt act, Indian penal code, Transfer of Property Act 1882 and Indian Police Act, 1861 that are made to serve the motive of the British administration. But some laws are still adopted by the sovereign government of India.
MPs and MLAs are above the law
Supreme Court passed an order in 2014 for disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs within a year. So, what happens after that? The Indian government keeps dragging the feet and says that they will set-up 12 fast-track courts around the country to try these cases.
I have tried to follow this piece of news in the newspapers and the internet but there is no update anywhere. There is no mention of any fast-track courts functional for this purpose in any news or any MPs and MLAs getting convicted/acquitted.
MPs and MLAs are a law unto themselves
This is the closest that MPs and MPAs come to being classified as lawmakers. They do not make laws as such. Just that, they are a law for their own selves. This is the reason why the Supreme Court had to rule restricting the unrestrained use of red beacons as a symbol of VIP culture. Would this be expected out of MPs and MLAs voluntarily? Anyways, they have a Police pilot car blaring out sirens announcing their arrival.
MPs and MLAs do not make the laws, rather break the laws. MPs and MLAs are a law unto their own selves. They are above the law.
The Supreme Court has placed the onus on Parliament and suggested better methods of disclosure, so that voters can make a more informed choice. What is the Government of any political party going to do? Nothing.
So, how do we rectify the situation? I propose we start calling MPs and MLAs as lawbreakers and not lawmakers, for what they actually are. Maybe, some of them will have some shame and leave the electoral politics. Maybe, the electorate will understand who they were electing till now and stop doing so. Perhaps, the government and the Supreme Court will do something about it. Or, nothing will happen. Maybe, more criminals will become MPs and MLAs.
And we will continue to call ourselves a democratic country – of the people, by the people and for the people.