In some of the Islamic countries, even if you kill someone you can avoid any punishment by paying ‘blood-money’. If you have enough money and the next kin of the deceased agree to accept the amount you offer, the law will free you from the crime you have committed. The amount paid to the kin of the deceased by the criminal is called ‘blood-money’.
In Gujarat, may be in some other states also, you commit the crime of unauthorized construction, wait for some time and the government will come up with some law which will allow you to pay some money for the ‘crime’ you have committed (breaching of any law, may it be civil in nature, is definitely a crime) and you will be free of the crime without any punishment. The government gets ‘blood-money’ for freeing you from the crime.
In 1997 the government of India has introduced a scheme named Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, popularly known as VDIS. The scheme was for those tax defaulters who have not paid income tax in past. They were allowed to disclose their black money, pay tax at a flat rate of 30% and enjoy the remaining 70% without any question. Remember that not paying tax is a crime. Here also the government has garnered Rs 7800 crores as ‘blood-money’ and nearly 3.5 lacs tax-criminals, including firms and companies, were freed from their past crime.
Of course the first scheme is still not operating in our country, the two other schemes have given a clear message to all concerned. Commit any civil crime, wait for some time, government is there to save you in lieu of some so called ‘penalty’. Everybody knows the laws of our land, so far as civil crimes are concerned, are so poor that there is hardly any chance of getting justice. Even governments know this, because they are the law makers. And they want such laws to prevail.
Breach of civil laws is equally dangerous to the society as of criminal laws. The unauthorized construction is hazardous to anybody. Constructions made in parking space ultimately create traffic congestion on the roads which results in fetal accidents. The unauthorized constructions are against the engineering rules and incidents were reported of collapsing of such constructions killing innocent people. So just regularizing such constructions by collecting money in the name of penalty is nothing but asking for ‘blood-money’ for releasing the culprit from the crime he had committed to the society.
Similarly, schemes like VDIS give a clear message to all. Don’t pay your dues to the government. Wait for some time. The government will come up with some scheme like VDIS. You pay the so called penalty and clean yourselves. Remember, the tax rates were as high as 50% during the seventies, on income above a certain limit. Those who have paid such exorbitant tax at that time were fools. Because, in 1997, those who have not paid the taxes in past, have just paid tax at 30% and get clean chit from the tax-man. Not only they paid the taxes at lower rate, they paid it after 20 or 30 years. That way they have used the exchequers’ money for those many years and that too without any in interest payment. Here also government has got the ‘blood-money’ for releasing the tax-criminals.
These and such other politically motivated schemes, like debt-waiver schemes for farmers, forgoing electricity-bill outstanding by Hariyana government in late nineties etc., gives a message to the public that avoid paying your dues to the government or go and commit any civil crime like unauthorized construction and just wait. Keep some ‘blood-money’ ready and some scheme or law will be framed by the rulers to declare your crime a legitimate act.
I am waiting for a law from Maharastra government legalizing the Aadarsh Building in lieu of some ‘blood-money’.