Lobbying is a very misconceived notion. It is the process of influencing the
government at any level, whether administrative or executive, state or central
or influencing a policy making procedure. It is an advocacy of opinions and
thoughts that could potentially affect the decision made by the authorities.
This concept is often misapprehended as professional bribery
. It is sad
that it is co joined with that term. Some developed countries and developing
countries have recognized this as a profession while some have made laws to
legalize it, however India still stands at a position where this activity takes
place, but the question of it being a positive act or not still hangs in the
In 2013, a Lok Sabha MP from Orrisa introduced a bill to regulate lobbying but
it stands still just as everything else that is not understood by the people in
power. Questions were raised and the authorities in power contemplated, in the
end their defense was that it goes against the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988
as according to the said act, bribery is strictly prohibited.
The basic structure of our constitution works as the backbone of the world's
largest democracy, and any step taken in the contravention of so should be
struck down, but in the complex process of understanding the wrong and right,
even the dictionary definition, let alone the legal definition, that
differentiates between the both was left unseen. A monetary transaction for the
personal benefit of an individual is what qualifies as bribery where any act
performed in the benefit of public interest is lobbying.
If we look at the reality, in every corner of this country there will always be
someone misusing the chair for their personal gain by using money and
influencing politics and law even though there is a law against bribery. This is
something that is almost impossible to prevent in the current scenario.
Countries like Canada, Poland, Taiwan, United States of America and Australia
have legalized this activity and on the other hand countries like United Kingdom
and Ireland have recognized Lobbyists and legalized this profession.
A mere right of speech and vocalizing interests which would be regulated and
directed for the public in no way is a personal gain for an individual. Perhaps
it's the regulation which is a hurdle as it would require time and resources but
as we are aware that we have the largest constitution which means more laws
governing comparative to other countries, no matter how strict the supervision
at some point or other it is bound to be misused.
Instead of ignoring this activity and claiming it to be bribery, shouldn't it
be recognized and used as a tool for benefit?
As one of the most debated topics, the words 'modern democracy' is brought up a
lot. It has been stated that legalizing Lobbying could be a threat to modern
democracy. In a country where an individual, who is in a position to influence
the state under some limitations and directions, for the purpose of the state is
in no way a harm.
Yes, a misuse is always possible but which right can't be misused?
There is always a possibility of it as there is a thin line between the both and
that thin line consists of checks and balances, but the basic difference is that
one represents 'buying power' whereas the other represents influencing the
. According to me, in a way the act celebrates democracy and recognizes
an individual to speak of an interest in a certain scope. It is not performed
under the table.
Let's take for example:
Triple Talaq, a very well-known and discussed topic in this culturally diverse
nation. BMMA (Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan) stood against this discriminatory
act happening against Muslim women and did everything in their power to
influence the government to illegalize Triple Talaq. Women like Shayra Banno,
Aafreen Rehman, Ishrat Jahan and many more who were subjected to this
discrimination were provided with support and when Triple Talaq was banned, they
were given justice.
BMMA worked as a lobbyist, yes and it resulted in the favour of public interest.
BMMA supported and advocated for Hindu women in case of Shani Shingnapur Temple,
where women were not allowed to enter. The organs of our government also work in
checks and balances. The public servants work for the protection and
implementation of law.
Because it goes without saying and is well understood that where there is a
right, there will be responsibility and limitations and there will be people to
exploit it but then there will also be a remedy. That is how a democratic system
Why has this principle been ignored in case of Lobbying?
The very first step of recognition has not taken place yet. It is known that
this act is performed but no law has been made to legalize it and none has been
made that illegalizes it. Abrogation of Art 370, one of the most strained times.
Both the sides had very diplomatically kept forward their interests to the
central government. What we fail to understand is, the older the democracy,
older the activity of lobbying. So, the statement that modern democracy may be
harmed does not make sense, because if we look back at our history, some of the
greatest decisions were not single mindedly taken but were instead influenced
and given a direction.
If the democracy has somehow modernized with time, then why haven't the ideas?
Democracy has the same elucidation it had when the Greeks developed the idea and
shaping decisions in favour of public dates back to that same ancient time.
Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Amit Shah and very
soon it became Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.
The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha with 125 voted in favour of the bill and
105 were against the bill. Many people including some high signatories and many
organizations who were against it played the role of lobbyists along with those
who were in favour of it and they simply performed an act of campaign in order
to influence the members of legislation to favour their interests instead of the
other group. No monetary transaction that benefitted a single person took place.
The difference between bribery and lobbying is oceans away from being opaque.
Democracy has been recognized and adopted whereas lobbying, which comes hand in
hand with it, is performed but is rejected at the same time. It is time that the
respected people sitting in authority acknowledge this fact. As we progress and
move forward with time, we carry and develop new professions, but one which
dates back to history should definitely not be neglected and dismissed.Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Kanika Dutt
Authentication No: NV31899843807-15-1120