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Kerala Development Model - III

Now, let me take the issue of law and order in Kerala

The beauty of American constitution is recognized by most (Indian constituion took a lot from it). The cornerstone of this is the concept of division of power and checks and balances. Till then, countries around the world depended on the moods and abilities of Kings. In the 200+ years since American constitution took effect, the remarkable stability America has had shows how checks and balances can be a self-sustaining model. But the beauty of division of power is not understood by many many countries and many many societies. For example, our neighbors like Pakistan and China are still groping for almightly leaders who can "catapult" their societies to "nirvana". None of the Arab countries have understood this, Yet, for example. While India has built institutions to some great extent, we are still a long way to go in this regard.

Building institutions is such a profound thing to do. A good leader may be great in fishing. But if he can teach fishing to others, then he is building a sustainable 'institution' in a sense. But let us see how good Malayalees are in this.

We have legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Then we have other institutions like press, public forums, non-profit organizations etc. that do fulfill some important roles. The important thing is that each has its own role and each is important. Building each as independent institutions require some sense about this. For example, let us take the police (an executive body) system. In Kerala, police system is a third world system. Adhocism rules the roost there. Police is not an independent body. Law takes back seat and political expediency takes precedence. We don't have a problem here because we simply don't understand the importance of an independent police system. Let us call ourselves third world once again (to make the point). Let me test drive some test cases here.

Say, there is a left front government. Say, a Marxist worker (or some relative or acquientance of the worker) involves in a case. Suddenly the worker goes to his local leader. Depending upon the severity of the case, the local leader either goes to the police station or to the next level in the hierarchy of leadership in the marxist party. Many times this leads to some district level or state level leader contacting some minister or even chief minister. And the political chain has lateral links to police too. Now, one or two leaders talk to police at their level (SI, CI, DSP, ...IG) and things get done. In the process, some bribing also takes place.

In short, the system was short-circuited. Lot of effort and lot of resources were spent for this. The police system doesn't work. Now let us take the case of the aggrieved party (let us say, a Congress man or an independent). This person also contacts some leader and things go up like, depending on the connection of the person. Here also, lot of energy and resources were wasted to get things done. And the result of sabotaging a system. The system doesn't work.

Now, let us see the reverse. Congress government is in power. A similar thing happens. The chain of events happen, this time Congressmen taking more advantage.

What value was added by this process? Of course there was lot of energy spent on it. But from a society's point of view, the value addition was in fact negative. Only value added activities create good things, improve standard of living, create happiness etc. For example, waiting in a queue is not a value adding activity. In business, excess inventory is a non-value adding item. Why do societies spend lot of energy on such non-value adding activities? Because some people abuse the system. Also because that people don't understand the systemic nature of these things. Again, first world countries are mostly very pragmatic about such stuff.

Fact is that vast majority (except criminals) wants a police system. Everybody benefits from an independent and fair police system. Everybody benefits from checks and balances on such systems. But still we don't do the obvious. An impartial and independent police system can do things lot more efficiently. Things can be much faster too.

What about people who don't have any "connections" or "influence" or "money"? Does our system take care of these people? No. This is like parties cooperatively splitting hafta from the entire population. Can a person X goes to a police station and expect things under law? No. We know that too.

Such institutions and systems have big impact on out development as a society (both social and economic). First, indepenent systems provide a predictability and such predicatbility is vital for development (investment, planning etc.) Second, we unnecessarily spent lot of energy on getting such things done. If everybody needs a system, and the if that system is inefficient, the right thing to do is to reform that system.

Now about our hypocrisy on the police system. Custody beating is not a legal thing. But all third world countries (well sometimes first world countries also do this, but mostly unusual) think that without that laws cannot be enforced. So, why not make a law legalizing it? Again, we don't see the obvious contradictions in majority of our policemen breaking the law on a daily basis. Can, in fact police prove cases without beating? Well, that needs a first world approach. How do police in developed countries prove cases?


By Haridas

Part I

Part II

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

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