In a democracy, people are given the power to choose their own ruler, because it is assumed that the chosen ones will do their welfare. But when such an entity fails to perform its basic task because of lack of prudence, then it is the democratic system which suffers. The recent Bihar children death tragedy is a perfect example of the failure of the democratic system.
Before delving on to the issue of why it is a fail of democracy, I would first discuss the ruling of Supreme Court and would relate the observations made by the judges to the argument I am making. A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the death of over 126 children due to AES (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome; the no. of deaths is given as according to the order filed in SC on Monday, today the figure has crossed the 175). Supreme court said that it is a matter of grave concern and it outrightly put Bihar government, not only responsible but also completely negligent.
It is true that in such matters, the buck stops at the government because it is the duty of the government to ensure the safety or least harm to the people. But here, the government is negligent because of the fact that it is not the first that such deaths have occurred. Every year such incidents happen, and the disease is nit incurable rather it occurs because of lack of sanitation, hygiene, low immunity. While on first impression it may seem that it is the deplorable conditions of the unfortunate families, mostly poverty-stricken, but if one looks at the broader view with a sceptic attitude, one would question the non-preparedness of the governments in this matter, as this could have been easily anticipated. While watching interviews of the victim families on TV, nearly all the families complained of lacking an attitude of care for them. These families in unison spoke about how there was no communication from the regime side on the preparedness of the disease, or the prevention, or for the cure of it.
The state of Bihar is not incapable of preventing such outbreak of diseases, because it is limited to only a portion of the state and it affects only a portion of demography. And the biggest reason why the government is flaked so much is the outbreak of this diseases year by year and still no action being taken to prevent this beforehand. Let’s forget about research, there were not even extra beds, nor any doctors, extra medicines, etc. When asked about the death of young ones in the state in such a large no., one of the Bihar ministers said that this year death toll is lesser than past years and he took it as an achievement. Such statements not only shows the callousness of a person with regard to any matter but also tell us about how the lives of innocent ones are reduced to numbers. It shows how people are made in political subjects.
So in essence, there is no doubt that the Supreme Court is absolutely right in holding the governments of the states liable. It is actually a failure of democracy because, here as we have seen, there was what looked like a deliberate act of state in this regard. Now, to save our democracy from repeated fails, it is now on us to do something, because until and unless we do something, we can only hope for the things to change.
A Second Year B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) student of National Law University, Delhi. Interested in Constitutional Law, International Law and ADR, he is an avid devotee of astronomical science, and yeah he enjoys good company too!