It seems all institutions meant for upholding democracy in the country are crumbling. The opposition parties as usual are attacking the present day government for the mess. But a careful study of the functioning of such institutions will prove beyond doubt that the disease did not occur during the last four and a half years rule of the NDA government. Rather it is the result of years of political interference in the functioning of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other such institutions. The situation as alarming then, as soon after taking over the reins of the country in 1991, former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao had to say that his priority would be to restore people’s confidence in the institutions to safeguard the future of democracy in the country.
In the preamble of the constitution we have pledged to make India a democratic country. But in reality our rulers did just the opposite during the last seven decades of Independence. From day one, our rulers with unfailing regularity have attacked the autonomy of the institutions. Persons having strong political connections have always been gifted top posts, ignoring merits. In exchange, those appointed with political blessings have always tried to please their political bosses, instead of maintaining the independence and autonomy of the institutions.
A close look at the recent fiasco within CBI is a result of a personal fight between two political appointees. In their efforts to please political bosses they often encroached on each other’s territory. When one felt that the other person was getting closer to the political boss, he raised charges of corruption. As a matter of fact, two of the top most CBI officials since getting their high level posts never worked as colleagues, but as enemies. Their bitter fight has undoubtedly lowered the dignity and importance of CBI. So much so that two states namely Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have already withdrawn general consent to the premier investigative agency to arrest or quiz any person within the geographical boundary of the State. From now, CBI will have to obtain prior permission from these two state governments to do so.
Things wouldn’t have reached such a point if CBI officers were selected purely on merits. In the present case one of the top post holders in any capacity had never worked in the CBI and the appointment of the other officer was opposed by Central Vigilance Commission due to pending corruption charges. But in their own wisdom, our rulers felt that such officers would serve their purposes and in the process allowed the credentials of the institution to reach to its lowest ebb. How fierce is the political pressure on CBI can be judged from another incident that occurred a couple of years ago. After the death of the then Andhra Chief Minister Y. S. Rajsekhar Reddy, his son Jagan Mohan Reddy wanted to be the chief minister, going against the wishes of party high command. Failing to contain him politically, the then rulers used the CBI and Jagan was jailed. So far not a single charge against Jagan has been proved, though he was in jail for nearly a year.
So the need of the hour is to allow all institutions to function freely. Until and unless political interference is stopped, these integral institutions will never be counted as credible ones.