Living in a democratic country is great. I get to vote and subsequently elect a person or an organization, that will represent me, do all the work I wanted to be done and respect my opinion. I get impressed by a candidate and I cast my vote for him/her. For the coming five years, that candidate is my servant and will serve for my wishes, needs and requirements. What a perfect life I can have!
But, what if the candidate is not listening to me? What if he has just turned a deaf ear towards me? What if he is least bothered about fulfilling the promises that he previously made? The answer is simple. I wait for five years and vote for another candidate. Oh wait! My candidate has started to work on issues I presented, maybe he didn’t get time and he is doing it now. So good! Oh! Maybe elections are around so he is doing things to get noticed. I will vote for him. And this time if he fails I will vote for another candidate, after 5 years of course.
Half a decade seems to be a considerable period of time when corrupt officials and ministers can accumulate a massive scoop of bribes. If they get exposed, they won’t win in the next election for sure. Democracy has given me the power to re-elect another person, after 5 years, and what great power I am endowed with!
But, is it really a power? Or can we call it limited power or impotent power? A person is elected to a post today, gets exposed as a corrupt person tomorrow and still, we have to wait for 5 years to kick him out of the office that is meant to serve us. This is a weakness because the actual strength of a democracy is not a part of our democracy and its fundamental institution- the constitution. A citizen can have the ‘Right to Vote’ or ‘Right to reject’, but unless there is ‘Right to Recall’- we cannot call ours a true democracy.
What is Right to Recall?
Collectors, Pollution control officers, District Education Officers, MP’s and all other government officials have a post that they either earn or we elect. We do have the power to elect but we do not have the power to ‘recall’. That’s because we do not have the law ‘Right to Recall’ in our country.
Using ‘Right to Recall’, civilians can kick an officer out of his office if he is not working efficiently. Here, there is no 5 year rule. I find out that my area’s MP is a corrupt man and has various crime cases against him, he is not eligible to be my MP so what can I do? I can recall him immediately. How? Just the way we- the people elected him, we can vote ‘against’ him and kick him out of his duties. Once the information regarding his activities is out in public domain, the court can be used as a medium from which the officer or minister can be recalled. The process may continue until the right person is not in the office.
‘Right to Recall’ has dual effects that work in the benefit of the citizens. This law either threatens a candidate to mend his ways and work honestly or kicks him out. The kicking out process can be long or short- that’s subjective- but, eventually an honest candidate sustains his position as he is working well for the society. It’s the fear of getting kicked out that can yield good results even form an ineligible or corrupt person. The sword is always hanging above the people who assume government offices; if they fail they are beheaded.
Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a party that had members like Ram Prasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh proposed the ‘Right to Recall’ (Praja Adheen Raja) law in their manifesto back in 1925. JP Narayan, in his Janata Party manifesto during 1977 election had enthusiastically supported this law. IAC (India Against Corruption) movement, led by Anna Hazare and AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) led by Arvind Kejriwal talked about introducing ‘Right to Recall’, but later none of the both uttered a word about it.
USA had this law since 1631 and the results they yielded are quite evident. Corruption exists in USA but, at a very low magnitude. Even if there is corruption, it is dealt with immediately and proper functioning is restored in no time. Reason is the frequent usage ‘Right to Recall’.
Though this law has great power and endows the citizens with that great power, there are very few in the current Parliamentarian circuit who advocate this law and propose it for a discussion in the Parliament. This law is the actual crusader against corruption of any form.