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Day 7- Ques-Ans

What do you understand by the term ‘ombudsman’? Give examples from India. How their functions are different from other law enforcement agencies? Analyse.

First time in 18th century, Sweden had the official post Ombudsman, established to investigate individual complain against public authority. In India ombudsman is working in banking and insurance sector to check financial corruption. At state level it is proposed as Lokayukt in many states. A bill of Lokpal (ombudsman at union level) is still pending in parliament.

Ombudsman in India has few specific characters which make it different from other agencies

  • Other law enforcement agencies largely look for crime of individual either as citizen or public official. Ombudsman is specially design for look public grievance against public authority.

  • In banking sector ombudsman is independent from specific banks, elected by RBI and he covers all the PSUs, cooperative banks, RRBs in his jurisdiction of work. Independently he receives from Customer against banking officials.

  • Lokayukt at state levels take citizen grievances against government official, ministers, or even Governor (depends on authority of lokayukt in that state). It is not possible for state level law enforcement agency to conduct free trial as they are not free from political pressure. Santosh Hegde work in Karnatka as ombudsman is prove of it.

  • Proposed Lokpal in India will be free for investigation even against prime minister. That simply cannot be expected from CBI (parrot in cage called by SC), NIA, or CVC which are frequently blamed for political influence.

Anna Hazare led movement for Janlokpal demanded for strong lokpal at national level show the importance of the ombudsman post in India. Few proposals like independent selection, independent investigative team, speedy trial system, and client oriented institute need to be accepted for ensuring that difference.

The recently concluded assembly elections portrayed a sorry picture of democracy where cash and kind dominated the electoral narrative. Critically comment

Elections at all levels form Panchayat to union level have witnessed illegal use of muscle power, money, liquored and other means. Unfortunately it is again proved true in recently concluded election in three states. The major reason behind this is

  • Political parties are willing to hold position by any means and it leads use of money and muscle.

  • Political illiteracy and awareness among masses is also blamed for acceptance of this culture.

  • Illegal money use in elections is big reason for it. As long as there is no transparency mechanism for party funding, it would be difficult to stop.

  • Electoral reforms are long pending in legation like preventing criminal background leader participation in election.

  • Many time election commissions also do not take quick and strong action against illegal means as it has been seen in West Bengal recently.

Although it is not true that all has been done wrong, there are many positive messages also we can find out from recent past

  • Supreme Court many directives for election reforms have shown result like criminal detail regarding candidates is mandatory before election.

  • Civil societies like ADR (association for democratic rights) are extensively working for public awareness.

  • There is no strong correlation between use of money, power and win of political parties. It indicates voters are aware enough to take a right political call.

  • Election commission has taken many bold and commanding steps to stop misuse of power and money in election.

A lot has been done, a lot need to be done for free, fear, and honest elections in India. Steps like transparency in party income, bringing political parties under RTI, mass awareness, are few critical areas which need to done immediately for it.

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