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Need for total political change: Ex-solicitor general

Posted on Feb 18, 05:40AM | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 17 : There can be no peaceful transition in the Indian society without total political change, says former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam.

"If it (political change) does not happen, we will not have a peaceful transition of society. Young people are restless," he said at a seminar on 'Society in Transition and Police Reforms' here Saturday.

"We are living in a society where criminality is a trade of police, government and political class," he said.

Thirty-one percent of legislators had criminal background, with 20 percent charged with murder, rape, extortion, and cheating, he said.

What is the assurance that people with such credentials do not defeat the administration of criminal justice system, Subramaniam asked.

Advocating empowerment of the Comptroller and Auditor General to verify financial details furnished by politicians in election affidavits, Subramaniam said the Election Commission was not looking into this aspect.

He said the commission officials admitted not doing so when they appeared before the Justice J.S. Verma panel set up after the Delhi gang-rape case. Subramaniam was a member of the panel.

He said the focus should be on women's empowerment and tracing missing children.

"Political equality of women entails political empowerment and requires amendments to the Representation of the People Act," he said.

Referring to exploitation of women in shelter homes, Subramaniam referred to Apna Ghar in Rohtak district of Haryana from where women were being supplied for sexual exploitation.

He said till date, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not filed a charge sheet in the case.

The blame also lay with the civil society, he said.

"If there was a strong and vibrant society, it could have prevented the exploitation of women and missing children going untraced years after years."

He said no party said yes to recommendations of the Verma committee to bring a bill for rights of women.

He exhorted the civil society, saying: "We have a role to ensure in preventing any attempt to frustrate the recommendation of the committee on the women rights".

Human rights activist Maja Daruwala said reforms were not just for the sake of reforms but for the safety of women.

Right from 1903, there is talk for reforming the police, but nothing has happened, she said.

"If you don't change the political system, you will never be able to change the police; and if you don't change police, you can't address the problem of safety of women, missing children and vulnerable sections."