Inflated bills main vote plank, laws don’t cut graft

Shivaji Sarkar
Two landmark judgments, on the electoral bonds and JMM-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bribery, should call for an introspection into the myriad ways of graft. The Nation despite vociferously discussing it for decades has not found a way out. No wonder India has the onerous ranking of 93 out of 180 on the global corruption index in 2023.
The recent Rajya Sabha cross-voting in Himachal, UP and Karnataka are blatant instances that money or other quid pro quo is routine. It has been happening at the Rajya Sabha elections for quite some time causing some change of rules including open ballot system making it mandatory for the MLAs to exhibit how they voted. Still it is happening.
Would it stop Parliamentary malpractices? Appa- rently not. The BJP in September 2015 suspended six MPs seen to have spent king bribes on videotaped broadcast by a TV channel. It has not come to an end. TMC MP Mohua Moitra was expelled in 2023 for alleged links with a businessman, who was reportedly allowed to use her official email. The new SC verdict now does away with the immunity to MPs granted by a judgement in 1998 under Article 105.
The common man can hardly escape it. Power corporations be they under Government or private do it openly to harass consumers. In some States, people are getting five to ten times inflated bills not for the purpose of realisation but for seeking high rents from the gullible. The current elections may see some regime changes because of the electricity bills alone in some northern States.
(To be contd)