Corruption & Human Rights Violations

The foundation of a progressive society rests upon the declaration and recognition of the basic rights and duties of the citizens. In times of complex societies, human rights were the universal thread that knitted every society together. When society transforms into a sovereign state with authoritative governance, it embarks upon the responsibility of safeguarding the fundamental rights of its citizens, who adhere to such governance. The right to good governance is one of the guiding principles that have been advocated to ensure the smooth functioning of the state. The fundamentals of good governance have been enshrined under the Preamble of the Constitution of India - Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republic, which owes its functioning upon the guiding principles of Rule of Law and welfare of the people. However, one of the deep-rooted causes of hindrances to proper governance is the existence of corruption. Corruption has various dimensions. Yet, in the simplest form, it can be described as an act of inducement for the violation of an obligation or a duty through ways of improper conduct and abuse of power. It exists nearly in every possible step of assertive power, ranging from the lowest to the highest authority. Research scholars have concluded from their studies that corruption is impartially existing in each form of governance, and state irrespective of political, cultural, or economic differences. During the pandemic, the citizens have witnessed condemnatory violations of Human Rights that have been furthered because of corruption. The rough management of the COVID-19 vaccines that led to large-scale bulk storage, only to be sold in the black market at higher prices, is one of the major implications of corruption in times of critical emergency. The authoritative officers engaged in manufacturing, transportation as well as distributors of the vaccine have been the fundamental players in the spread of corruption due to which the common people have greatly suffered losing countless lives. The image is much worse when corruption is intermixed with the official institutions and regulations of the government, that had been established to ensure transparency and an efficient justice delivery system in the first place. The status of criminal law at present stands where the legal mechanisms have failed to address the issue of victimisation due to the prevalence of corrupted practices and blindness of the system to be ignorant to corrupt exercises. Ranging from the ‘favouritism’ in the appointment of independent judges of the independent judiciary to the nepotism in the promotion of Bollywood actors in the entertainment industry, corruption manifests itself into various characters and methods. It is reasonable to argue that corruption has become an integral part of any working society, and only proposes exploitation and abuse of the weaker section of society. Often, the status of an independent and transparent judiciary gets disillusioned and, therefore, cannot function as a healthy institution that puts civil societies at a far better and recognisable platform. Ever since the creation of the United Nations Organisation, various treaties and declarations have come into existence which fosters the implementation of Human Rights as a part of fundamental privileges of any governance. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enlists the domain of human rights and how they must function in any given society. This international recognition of human rights has consequently resulted in the rising awareness and the recognition of violations of human rights on an international platform. It has become much easier to address and spread awareness regarding such violations through civil societies than to approach the official institutions of the government, to claim remedies, as the system itself is the victim of corrupt persons in authority. Providing the human rights violations and international background creates a much-pressurised duty over the institutions, to address the issue and provide efficient measures and remedy, and also to enhance the dimensions of the human rights which leads to reasonable changes in the prevailing system of inefficiency. The legislature of India implemented the Right to Information Act in 2005, which provides for transparency and publication of official documents to the public to ensure a corruption-free environment. The Act has held many official authorities under the obligation to admit accountability over the failure of their duties and eliminating third-party arrangements. Further, amid the surge in coronavirus where social distance is mandatory, the government has undertaken various adjustments to ensure the availability of services through online portals even to remote areas. Moreover, the judiciary has undertaken steps to ensure smooth court hearings over virtual conferencing services. The transition from in-person meetings to virtual meetings over the internet has promised an efficient and transparent process, by promoting surveillance in public against possible malpractices which are otherwise hidden from the public. In a democracy, the driving force is the citizens who bind the nation. Therefore, to curb corruption, there is a need for the common people to unite and stand against corruption starting from the grass-root level. It is by public conscience that a curse like corruption can be disposed of. Over time with much public support, the parliament has initiated reforms and amendments to the laws in place and done away with obsolete laws, which posed a threat to the integrity as well as the efficiency of the state machinery. Thus, the requirement arises for such conscious understanding for the eradication of corrupt practices. The formulation of policies is not a problem in a developing country like India, but the problem lies in the implementation of such policies which are put in the hands of controlled administration which binds them to the dictates of the higher authorities. In the early years of independence, India ensured inefficient decentralisation of power and followed a quasi-federal system of governance however there is a strong demand for further empowerment of the grass-root level so that they can function in their full capacity and with reasonable efficiency. It is not reasonable to put the responsibility of eradication of corrupt practices upon the government officials in a situation where it is the people who have empowered such officials and therefore, the society, demands conscious enforcement for greater transparency and awareness of the media to display the truth, irrespective of the TRP. While the citizens have come forward at various instances against the injustices in the society, it is essential to question the credibility of media, and define to what extent should the public engage in the spread of awareness, and whether the people can run this country with a good conscience.

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