It is a space in which a jury comprised of regular people sit in judgement of policies made for them. Experts present their policies to an audience of representatives of various people's groups - as a way of enacting participatory citizenship.
How it will work
The process involved in 'Janta ka Faisla' is just as important as the final policy verdicts reached by the jurors - it has to engage the full deliberative wisdom of those who are usually denied any capacity to stand in judgment. At the end of the case, the jury will give a verdict that comprises of policy recommendations on a given issue.
Here are potential questions for the jury comprising of migrant workers to consider:
- Perhaps the lockdown was necessary, but was it done in a way that recognized the dignity of migrant labourers and other working class people? How should it have been done?
- (As a migrant labourer or otherwise): how do you see the trade-off between health concerns and livelihood concerns? Were the decisions of the government correct? What should have been done better?
- As we move out of the health crisis and into the economic challenges of the coming year or more, what policies are you looking for? How should they be implemented? Who should be in charge?
- In the future, how should the government make decisions during an emergency, especially when they affect millions? What systems should be set in place for them now?
The jury will be presented with ideas for policies. Advocates and stakeholders for different policy positions - think tanks, NGOs, independent experts, employers etc. - from different schools of thought would be invited to present to the jury. They have to present material in an easy to understand manner. Jury has the ability to directly cross-examine the presenters.
This process will be enabled through a judge(s) and 'amici curiae' (friends of the court). The judge(s) will play a critical role - they will manage the process of presentation, questioning, guiding the jury to validate their understanding and facilitate reaching a verdict. Amici curiae are neutral experts who will assist a court by offering subject matter information, expertise, or insight. Their advice is non-binding on the jury.