Saturday, December 21, 2013

Migrating from the Era of Negative Laws to an Era of Positive Laws: Need to Think Originally!

If I say the world is full of copycats, please do not get angry on me. It is a reality. I am not against any one copying or imitating some thing good. Copying of ideas and content would no doubt could reduce work load in many areas to a good extent. So, copying per se, cannot be considered as some thing bad.

For many years, I have been working as an engineering project consultant. One of the jobs that I was supposed to do involves drafting of project feasibility reports, contract or tender specifications, etc. In the process of doing this kind of work, it is quite natural that I have to take clues from my predecessors and copy many things that they had thoughtfully drafted for situations of similar nature. Naturally, this would reduce my time in thinking of the proper clauses and statements that compose my document.

I had the opportunity of finding documents containing statements originally drafted by me with some fore thoughts. But if such things happen without any one giving any attention to the purpose and the meanings, things could create problems at some time.

A couple of decades ago, such copying could not have been done by simple 'copy-paste' operations that the present day word processing software allows in the digital word processing environment. In those days, even if some one wanted to copy some thing, the texts had to be re-typed and edited where some human thoughts also went in simultaneously. That way, a document generated with some copying could not be considered as full word by word copies. Instead they used to be modified versions of documents made with some original thoughts.

Unfortunately, the word processing power the computers have provided had caused certain other undesirable side effects. Now-a-days, full documents could be made by some one without ever giving any proper application of mind. Even many documents could be made mechanically by the machines without any human thoughts ever doing some fine tuning!

Laws, rules, procedures and the whole gamut of interpretation of laws comprising legislation and the judicial system perhaps uses the maximum use of text processing called legal documentation. The present day legal procedure is so complex that it is extremely difficult for any normal human being to read and understand the whole documents that get created in the judicial processes involving judgments.

Once I had the opportunity to read the findings and the recommendations made by an Inquiry officer of a company who conducted an inquiry in to certain allegations leveled against an employee as per the Conduct and Disciplinary procedures laid out by the said company. He had made a long inquiry report which quoted the statements of the witnesses and many documents of proofs (called exhibits). As I read on, I found that the findings were in favor of the accused. But to my surprise, the last para of his report the inquiry officer had given his recommendations to the disciplinary authority which were just the contrary to what were explained earlier. The disciplinary authority being a high ranking official with not much time to read everything, went as recommended and awarded the punishment to the accused!

In the present day system what we have, the judgments as read out by our honorable judges are in hundreds and thousands of pages. Would it provide opportunities for 'reading between the lines'? Could there be some alternative that is better? It is something that modern society has to start thinking.

I am not a legal expert, but a common layman. But, my common sense tells me that there is a need to improve our system of legislation and legal procedures. We need to come out from the compulsions of sticking to what is known as legacy. Legal documentation and legal languages need to get simplified, approachable and understandable by the majority of people. It cannot happen overnight or even in the present generation. But some day it has to happen. That would be the time when the leaders of human beings become more comfortable with what is now being acknowledged as 'transparency'.

Another thing that comes in to my mind is the need to have many different types of punishments which could help positive changes in those getting punished rather than the present day system of negative punishments. Many of our laws only recognize 'imprisonment' as the only way of punishing some one regardless of the gravity of the crime or error. Though we may be proud of our so-called elected representatives whom we call as our law makers, it may not be known to many that it is not always these representatives who actually draft the documents that are called the 'bills' to be enacted (approved) as laws. Many times it is the lower level staff attached to the various ministries who do the drafting work, many times under stress and duress, under certain compelling conditions as dictated from their higher ups. When they are so compelled, they often adopt copy-paste techniques without the proper application of mind. Many times such application of mind get missed in the later processes as well, that the laws that get finally adopted tends to be stereotyped. 

And what is more disturbing is the tendency that we blame everything on our so-called system. And what is this system? And who is responsible for this system which many people call as 'rotten'.

Why do we shy away from original thinking? Are we so pauper in our thoughts of innovation in such areas which affect each and every one of us?

Is it happening every where in this globe like this or are there exceptions? Are we prepared for bench marking our systems with some systems that have proven their effects in some better manner?

What is preventing us from trying simpler and positive laws? 

Is it right to equate a drug peddler in the same way as some one who made some false declaration in a document ? What happens to our common sense when some of us are entrusted with the responsibility of making laws for the rest of us?

Why is it that we prefer to get agitated of an injustice only when we are some how affected and not when we are entrusted to execute the justice? Why do we have different yardsticks at different occasions? 

All these things, in my humble opinion, arise out of certain short comings of our minds, even when we consider ourselves as highly educated, intelligent or competent. We certainly lack certain essential things which could polish our competencies. You may read what I wrote about the 4 Cs earlier!

There is a need for humanity to migrate to an era where positive laws (laws which are simpler to interpret and apply) are in force which are administered by organizations manned by leaders who are not lacking the 4 C's- Competency, Character, Courage and Compassion. And the laws then would perhaps contain less of negative punishments but more of motivational rewards for law abiding too!

No doubt, punishments should act as deterrents for potential crimes to take place. But fear can only be deterrent only to certain inferior minds, but not to all.

How could all these happen? It could, provided human brains are allowed to think originally, instead of compelling to follow those legacies which prevent original ideas. Let us not copy-paste every thing!

In any case, the thought process need to begin now.

What do you think?  


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