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The perils of a documentary democracy

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Our great Bharat as per the classical textbook definition is a democratic nation with the government “by the people, of the people, and for the people” but there is a catch– everything is just on paper– literally, sarcastically, as well as sadistically speaking. Every systems and procedures formed in this nation are for the purpose of creating documentary evidences rather than bringing real changes to the lives of the people. My readers would be wondering what I am talking about but then I can only explain this using examples to substantiate my claims– you although have the liberty to call my examples as “anecdotal evidences” to brush aside my concerns and go back to your liberal utopian worlds.  However, I do take the liberty of requesting you to read this with an open mind.

For starters, we have got the bulkiest Constitution in the world– with “n” number of laws and “n raised to the power of n” number of bye-laws, interpretations, case studies, judgments, and what not which create a web of words leaving the best of the culprits to either escape the law with a clean chit or just prolong the justice process using legal technicalities so that they get enough time of a few decades by which time either the complainant would be brought to a compromise or simply eliminated if the defendant is a really mighty fellow. No wonder that people can freely shout with impunity antinational slogans and not only get away with them with finesse but also become overnight celebrities– a feat that is only possible on the entire planet in the great nation called Bharat. Remember the vermins who had shouted “Bharat tere tukde honge, insha allah” and the subsequent sedition charge filed on them and finally the bulky judgement for bail issued by the judge which criticized such acts on nearly four pages but then decided to give bail to the culprits rather than taking the justice process to its logical conclusion! And now what everybody is busy with their “rozi roti- seeking lives” and everything has faded away from the junta’s memory making Kanhaiyaa Kumar and his cohorts “victims” of the government. Any guesses why such delays and miscarriages of judgments take place? The primary simple answer is that there is not enough “documentary evidence” against the culprits– as if the culprits are going to create documentary evidences first and then commit the crime!

Take any case in our judicial system, the average years of pendency for getting judgement is no less than 5 years.  Even our fast track courts (I can’t stop laughing at this oxymoronic term) give their judgements in nearly 3 years even though the case seems like a plain vanilla criminal-victim one, like in case of rapes and murders. The first hurdle in our judiciary is that it is based on the premise that even though a thousand culprits go scot-free, no innocent will be punished. And secondly it is the responsibility of the victim to prove that (1)  s/he is a victim and (2) the person whom s/he is accused is the culprit– and both these facts have to be proven in a 100% watertight shut fashion without any possibility for alternate theories/stories (which the culprit may form as alibis– that is the victim should have every sort of documentary evidence as well as witnesses to counter any possible permutation and combinatorial theories propounded by the culprit’s lawyer– and to add the chat masala to all this, there is the perpetual rule of summons that is in practice in our judiciary, no proceedings are forwarded if summons are not “received” by the defendant, i.e. the defendant should sign on the summons’ copy acknowledgement– again a relic of documentary democracy which gives the culprit the biggest loophole to avoid justice. You just have to commit a crime and change your address somewhere which nobody knows and the summons will come and bounce for nearly 1 to 2 years and in case you have good contacts with the court clerks, it can go as long as 3 years also after which the court will issue warrant against you– first bailable and then nonbailable. The issuance of warrants is again a method of creating documentary evidence by the judiciary that they have done their “jobs” and it is not in their power if the culprit is absconding. The warrants are served through the nearest police station and you just have to give some chai-paani to the local thulla in order for him to give a report to the court that the “house was locked” during the service of summons. Another documentary play wherein the Thulla creates an evidence that he has done his “job” of going to the house of the culprit to service the summons but the same was locked. This process of “gone and found lock” can give the culprit around 6 months to 1 year (or more which again depends on your relations with the right cops!). Okay now that after 1 year a non-bailable warrant is issued against the culprit, then the thulla has no other way but to arrest you from somewhere. It is then that the thulla will finally find the culprit’s house “not locked” and tell you to come to the police station tomorrow along with his Vakeel. The culprit will be made to sign an acknowledgement of the summons copy and told to come to the police station on the days of the hearing- finally the documentary evidence for having met and handed over the summons has been created. Then is the time for the hearing- on the day of hearing, the culprit will appeal to the court to permit him time in order to hire a lawyer to fight his case. And then the history continues- case which has already been dragged for nearly 3 years by the judiciary and the police for documentary reasons is again stretched to the limits of the victims frustration for another decade by which either the victim is totally tired of fighting a long lost case or that both the victims-culprit come to a compromise. Again this is also documented while taking back the case and the case is closed.

 

This is just a small hypothetical example of a documentary democracy. Anybody who can observe can see that this documentary system of “I did my job” is everywhere from the ubiquitous PUC (Pollution under control) certificate for vehicles (wherein you just get the certificate from any PUC centre by clicking the photo of its number plate regardless of the age and condition of the vehicle) to the innumerable cases of NPA loans pending before the judiciary/DRTs wherein just a documentary evidence for the next Tareekh need to be created along with a reason (alibi would be a better word) for delaying the already dead process.  As seen in the Ajay Devgn’s hit movie, Drishyam, our system just needs documentary evidence and any crime can be committed with impunity if proper documentary evidences are created prior to and after committing the crime.

Sadly speaking all these tactics are never taught in our regular schooling system which teach us to be righteous and honest tax-paying workers who can be steamrolled by the high and mighty as and when required to suit their needs.  The high and mighty although teach these tricks of the trade to their progenies who seem to know all the jugaads to get through the legal tangles be it killing people on the road through rash driving (remember an airman who was killed during Republic Day parade practice in Kolkata by the son of a TMC MLC), road rage (remember the case of Dr. Pankaj Narang, the Delhi dentist who was butchered by Bangladeshi immigrants in front of his 7-year-old son because he was celebrating India’s victory by playing a cricket match with him), rape (the recent horrific one being the Bulandshahar gang rape of mother-daughter in front of their family members by people following the peaceful religion), the mass rioting against Hindus in West Bengal (and no documentary evidence to prove it) and much more if you sift through the mainstream newspapers at any point of time. Every crime will tell you a story of mental torture due to the documentary delays on the part of the police, judiciary, and the legal system in general prevalent in our country as well as the fearlessness with which the criminals stand and roam around in our society by exploiting the documentary system of our democracy.

What is the use of technology if summons could not be served over phone or e-mail? What is the use of biometric-based IDs like Aadhar if you cannot track the whereabouts of a person? What is the use of internet if a victim cannot file a police complaint/FIR without getting harassed by the police? What is the use of Digital India if every time any document has to be produced in a court or government office, it needs to be photocopied on “legal” size paper and attested by a notary? In short, what is use of living in a nation which has most of things from toilets to bridges on paper while the ground realities are in the opposite direction and if anybody complains about it, the simple alibi would be- it was there at as on the date of the document and now it’s gone!

 

Hail Demoncracy!

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