Law & Order – Do they Coexist ? – A perspective

We often hear the expression – Law & Order as though these two always coexist. The underlying assumption is that one thing leads to the other. I find it somewhat unconvincing though. I can cite any number of examples to show that this is far from the truth. Take the case of India. We have a plethora of laws starting from Constitutional law, Civil law, Criminal law, Women’s reservation bill /law, Labour law, Cooperative society bye-laws etc etc. It is as if enacting laws of various kinds is our national pastime. But alas, there is no matching effort made on implementing the laws. Starting from our parliament houses to our cooperative housing societies there is nothing but disorder and chaos. While we all love to make laws, we seem to love chaos even more. In contrast, take the case of China. I am sure that there are far fewer laws, certainly not as many as we have. But amazingly there is tremendous order. In fact their great economic development in the past 2 decades is a testimony to the prevailing order and the consequent efficiency in the government machinery.
Even more intriguing is the case of Middle East and Africa. Judging by the current unrest and rebellion in those countries, it is fair to conclude that there has been neither law nor order for the past several decades.
Perhaps the only nations where there is some semblance of coexistence of law and order are the West European countries and the USA.

It is always tempting to talk about our Cooperative Housing Societies in the context of law and order. A typical Housing society is a perfect reflection of our National character in its many aspects. Cooperative Housing societies in Mumbai are governed by a set of 175 bye-laws,which cover virtually all aspects of cooperative living. Having drafted such a wonderful document, one would expect to see perfect order. But what happens is quite the opposite. I can take the example of our own society to highlight the point.
In our society laws are made only to be broken. For instance, one of the laws forbids or restricts the use of premises for parties, get-togethers etc. However,exceptions are always made. Some people somehow manage to get permission for such parties with promises to clean up after the party is over. However,the premises would invariably look like a war-torn territory on the day after the party. Needless to say, the society has to employ manpower to clean up the mess – clearing up the clogged water drains,washing up common areas etc. Exceptions are again made for HOLI celebrations. Not only do people indulge in criminal waste of huge amounts of scarce water but also dirty the whole area with colours – both staining & non-staining type. No one dares to question anybody on such days for fear of being branded as an ‘anti-social’ element!

In one instance of open violation of laws, I happened to be a victim. Some overzealous parents in our society took a unilateral decision to train their kids in KARATE on our premises. So they hired an instructor to train 30 odd children in the martial art. The classes were arranged in the evenings at a convenient corner on our premises. Unfortunately that corner happened to be just a stone’s throw away from my bed room where I would usually sit and do my evening meditation. Obviously there was no way I could do my meditation in the midst of all the high decibel level noise and chaos. My meditative skills were seriously challenged. I had to virtually move Heaven and Earth to put a stop to the non-sense but in the process I am sure I had offended the sentiments of several overenthusiastic parents.

One can go on and on citing a number of instances of people taking law into their hands. In such an atmosphere, it is not surprising to find cynicism among many office bearers. Here is an instance of extreme desperation and cynicism on the part of office bearers. Recently Mumbai Municipal Corporation made it a law requiring every household to segregate dry waste and wet waste. In our management committee meeting the secretary wanted to know whether he should circulate the note from the corporation to every flat or simply put it up on the notice board. One of the members remarked rather sarcastically that it really didn’t matter what we did with the notice, since in any case no one would read it and much less implement the same. In his own words- “aap kuch bhi karo – ither kuch honewala nahin hi – koi notice ko padnewale bhi nahi hi”. Isn’t this the height of cynicism?

Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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