Former CJI likens India's ills to multiple organ failure

Former CJI likens India's ills to multiple organ failure

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice M N Venkatachalaiah, said on Saturday that the country had suffered a multiple organ failure, leading to a gradual diminution in the constitutional spirit.

“If you treat one organ, the problem with the other gets aggravated. In fact, the process of administration, hand in glove with the politics of self-interest, had destroyed the constitutional values,” he said.

Speaking at a national seminar on electoral reforms, Venkatachalaiah said people had lost faith in their rulers and whenever such things have happened in history, civilizations had come to an end.

“Civil society, which should rise to the occasion, is also divided in terms of caste and religion. This will slowly degenerate into anarchy. Many people are of the opinion that their votes have become ineffective. So they think whatever they can extract from a candidate contesting an election, in terms of money or freebies, should be taken during polls,” he said.

The former CJI said we need a dramatic change in the thinking of people to regain the legacy. “It is now up to the youth to handle the swindling drama we are witnessing today,” he said.

N Gopalaswami, former chief election commissioner and vice chairman of Foundation of Advanced Management of Elections (FAME), said two recent and earthshaking incidents — (Anna Hazare’s anti-graft movement and protests against the Delhi gang-rape) — had proved that youngsters were not keeping quiet.

“They are capable of revolting and hence, we need not lose hope. Youngsters should now wake up to stop the rape of democracy in the country," he said.

Political resistance

T S Krishna Murthy, former chief election commissioner and vice-chairman of FAME, said political consensus for electoral reforms would never emerge for the simple reason that politicians strongly believe their powers will be curtailed with it.

Another factor is connected to the judiciary. Many cases pertaining to electoral reforms, including negative voting and monitoring freebies announced in political manifestos, are pending for more than five years before the Supreme Court.

“A sense of urgency needs to be shown by the judicial corridors to dispose of such cases,” he said. 

Many participants demanded that the First Past the Post system of elections, which we are practising should give way to the system of Proportional Representation, which would be an answer to many flaws in the system.

The seminar was jointly organised by FAME and the Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India. NGOs and activists from across the country participated.