India is one of the few countries in the world where there is a judicially accepted method of authentication of an electronic document with the use of “Digital Signatures”. Time has now come for putting this to test in a practical situation. There is now a serious debate on  “Democracy”. One view supported by the Government is that “Democracy means electing representatives in an election held from time to time and letting them function until the next elections without any questioning of their “Right to Govern”. Another school of thought is that “Democracy is not limited to election from time to time  but also to monitor and get Governed on a continuous basis based on the wishes of the people”. Presently there is a practical difficulty in building a mechanism that provides for continuous monitoring of the wishes of the people of the country and hence we need to settle for an intermediary measure of “Referendums” from time to time instead of elections every now and then.

It is now possible for the digital world to show case a pilot project of a referendum. I request all the Certifying Authorities of India come together and organize a referendum amongst those who possess digital certificates and collect the essence of the public opinion on some of the key points of contention surrounding the Anti Corruption movement through voting on the basis of one vote per digital certificate. It can be also extended with a slightly lesser evidentiary value by Mobile Service providers through an SMS campaign where each mobile owner will exercise one vote.

On the basis of the experience of these digital referendums conducted by private agencies, the Government can organize another nationwide referendum based on the electronic voting system. Probably this should be the next logical move which should be acceptable for both the Government as well as the Anna Hazare group.

The referendum question could be

“Do I authorize the Anna Hazare team’s draft of the Lokpal Bill as against the draft recommended by the ManMohan Singh Cabinet?” .. Yes or No

Naavi of Naavi.org

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