Crime, Rule of Law and Economic Growth

According to statistics released by the state police the overall number of crimes in AP at 1.31 lakh in 2002 showed a marginal increase from the previous year’s total of 1.17 lakh. The report also revealed that the number of murders at 2376 showed a marginal decline from 2428 in the previous year. Hyderabad reported 110 murders whereas Rangareddy district topped the list with 181.

Political Parties – Victims of a Vicious Cycle

The whole of last week, the entire media and the state was agog with the Krishna Yadav episode. The details of the scam were covered widely elsewhere. Instead I would like to focus on why are criminal elements finding a place in the political arena and why are political parties harbouring them?

No place for violence in a democracy

Most of us are still recovering from the shocking attack on the chief minister’s convoy. Fortunately the chief minister escaped with minor injuries, while some of his colleagues are seriously injured.  This is the latest episode in the ongoing violent struggle with the extremist naxal groups, which saw some brutal and gruesome attacks over the past few years during which both sides stand accused of grave excesses.

This Hide-and-seek is not a Game

Our print and electronic media regularly saturate us with news about a rather well-known fugitive and how he manages to keep himself outside the grasp of our police.  Everyone - including his family, his ‘fans’ and supporters and even friends from the media - seems to know where he is hiding.  Except, of course, the law enforcement agencies.  He is seen everywhere.  But then he is found nowhere.   He manages to meet people publicly, conduct business openly and even gets directly in touch with VIPs and VVIPs.

The Time for Cleaner Politics has Come

Last month, the Election Commission (EC) sent a ‘roadmap’ of proposals to the Prime Minister, aimed at cleaning up the stains of corruption and criminalization from the electoral process.  Apparently, the EC hopes to bring at least some proposals into practice, before the Maharashtra elections are held later this year.  These efforts could prove to be the first steps towards cleaner, better and more genuine politics.

Millions on the Margins

The spate of brutal killings of Salva Judem members by Maoists in Chattisgarh and encounter deaths of Maoists in Andhra Pradesh expose the fault lines of our society and polity. These are not acts of violence inspired by extra-territorial terrorist agencies to destabilize our nation. These are the products of anguish, despair and bitterness resulting from decades of misgovernance and an economic growth process which relegates millions to the margins.

Growth with Security

Once again, cowardly and murderous terrorist groups attacked India’s financial capital.  Once again, the citizens of Mumbai, in the midst of the shock and grief, have exhibited uncommon courage, resilience and tolerance.  As in April 1993, in July 2006, all of India showed how a great nation could transcend prejudice and bigotry, and uphold its liberal, humane traditions.

Rule of Law and Current Discontents

The failure of prosecution in a spate of cases in recent times once again focused public attention on our justice system. Distinguished jurists as well as political leaders and commentators are lamenting the near-collapse of rule of law, resulting from failure of justice system – civil and criminal.

Freedom and Citizenship

Recently, Lok Satta released a list of 51 politicians with criminal antecedents, based on nine verifiable, rational and objective criteria, including those who were acquitted in cases pertaining to grave offences. Looking to the ground swell of public opinion in support of the list, the political parties had to at least temporarily defer nominating the politicians who figured in the list.

Criminalization and the Anomalies of Law

The sorry episode of Shibu Soren has once again focused the nation’s attention on criminalization of politics. The problem of criminalization goes well beyond the political fates of a few individuals. We need to understand the law and its limitations.

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