21 January, 2021

The Nation Is Not A Lab

It’s not the duty of citizens to suffer the ‘live-testing’ of policies

The Nation Is Not A Lab

The demonetisation policy has engaged the whole country over the last two-and-a-half months. Reactions have been strong and conflicting. But no one can say the purpose was wrong if eradicating illicit wealth, corruption or controlling use of money for nefarious purposes was indeed the government’s main intent. However, there are some basic principles of governance to which sovereign, democratic republics subscribe: ‘ownership’ of country vests only in the collectivity of citizens, and we have chosen to be governed by the ‘rule of law’ and not the rule of men.

If the intention is noble, does it mean the means can never be faulted? How does it fit with the concept of the people’s sovereignty and the rule of law? Can a government employ just about any means to achieve a valid purpose, and yet not violate these overarching principles? Can it impose measures, procedures and practices that curtail the basic freedoms of citizens in the process of implementing what may even be a munificent scheme? Can the government, of whichever hue, impose...



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