IN PRAISE OF CONSENSUS
In an age where extreme views are the flavor of the season, this is a plea for the middle ground – consensus, as it used to be called in more settled times. Historically speaking, its Indian origins could perhaps be traced to the Golden Mean or the Middle Path propounded by Gautam Budha. In the recent past, if you look at the Constituent Assembly debates, the majesty of consensus building comes across all through. Take for example, the heated debates on issues like secularism, official language or centre – state relations. Budha’s middle path best exemplified by Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar carried the day each time because of the intellectual heft, shear logic and profound common sense. How one wishes, to see debates of that order in our legislatures or leaders of that stature debating issues.
While grieving over the lack of stature and goodwill among people who are suppose to lead the country - in all parties the question is can something be done to pull the organs of the state like the legislature, government or judiciary itself from the brink of dis-functionalism?
For whatever it is worth, the following steps (wild card entries) are suggested as solution:
• Whenever the legislature reaches an impasse in debates, the leaders of all political parties should get together and try to reach a consensus, say, within 48 hours.
• The mechanism of Jan Lokpal should be implemented with full consensus of all parties at the earliest on priority basis.
• All courts from the lowest to the highest should reserve one day in a week for “arbitration” of cases which are pending, say, more than one year, on a statutory basis and the arbitrator’s decision should not be challengeable at more than one level.
• As culture (corruption and fish) rots from the head, there should be zero tolerance for any kind of corrupt behavior and naming and shaming should be resorted to compulsorily.
Am I dreaming on the eve of the impending New Year? Wish everyone a Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year!!