Administering the Supreme Court Through the Media

As four senior judges of the Supreme Court coming out through a press conference against the Supreme Court of India, the entire legal fraternity as well as the people have been thrown into a frenzy.

Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M.B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, Justice J Chelameswar, today appeared before the national media today and allegedly broke their silence over the fact that the incumbent Chief Justice of India is one who is not discharging his duties with the due diligence required.

The further call has been that the democracy is being led into danger.

The responses coming in from over the various quarters are falling in every spectrum of morality, while the justices urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter urgently.

If there existed some apprehensions of this, or if there were such appalling and urgent circumstances, the justices may have done it confidentially, as has been done on many innumerable occasions.

The direct impact that  the media exposure and the hovering possibilities of a media trial have led to demean the highest Court of the land. The tussle involved, has dented the overall trust that has been reposed in the judiciary by the people.

The direct allegation by the Senior Judges, has been that the CJI, is promoting s preferential allotment of cases, which is detrimental to natural justice.

The allegation, and the call, has such consequences, and the impact of the same may be felt in the days to come, with the Judiciary condemning or boycotting the proceedings emanating from the misinformation propaganda against the CJI.

The office of the CJI is one of the most influential offices in the country, and there has been one incident in the Prasad Medical College case, where Senior Advocate, Prashant Bhushan waived an FIR registered against the CJI in Orissa.

This incident took the CJI by alarm, and then he declared himself to be the last authority after the Registrar General of the Supreme Court, in the administrative side.

The allegations today, may have certain truth lying beneath these as the judges who pursued the trajectory, are known to be honest and responsible judges. The judges might have also tried to follow an in-house resolution system that possibly failed, while the judges’ who have take this extra measure will have to answer collectively not just to the institution, but also the nation.

It is also to be noted that yesterday the Supreme Collegium cleared the names of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Judges KM Joseph for elevation to the Supreme Court, while it cleared certain names for appointment to the High Court as well.

The Judges have also take note of the fact that they are not giving a political statement , but they are cautioning the nation. The caution also comes at a price of the reputation of the judiciary.

The matter is now in the public, and while the media trials are not allowed, the judges have submitted yet the entire judiciary to the trial by the media. Though the urgency and the veracity of the disclosure are not yet confirmed, but the damage has been done. And a fact finding will have to be commenced at  the earliest to bring the matter to truth.


Finding Record of the Record Encounters in UP

The Indian Express reported today, about 931 encounters in Uttar Pradesh by the police since the Yogi government came to power there. The report also talks about 33 deaths, which mostly pertain to the policemen, while the most baffling point was the government’s denial of any suo motu notice from the National Human Rights Commission.

The National Human Rights Commission has initiated a notice aiming to know the grounds on which the encounters were conducted, and the reasons related to, and incidental to the encounters.

India, is now a welfare state by all means, while the State exclusively has the police powers. The criminals that were killed in the encounters, mostly belong to the western part of the state.

The cases, most specifically relate to murders, extortion and in some cases dacoity, and robbery also. The most interesting part of the entire clean up is why only criminals with petty bounty and cases at trial stages, were targeted and encountered?

The encounters have been perpetrated under circumstances which have no evidence to prove that they were done out of a legal necessity. The number of people killed is a whooping figure of 931, while it has happened over in just 10 months.

Amazingly, the encounters have had no direct bearing on the crime rate in Uttar Pradesh. The people shot dead, have no proven nexus with many crime syndicates functioning in UP. Some of them are the branded notorious elements who had deep roots in the organized crime bazaar, while most of them were independent goondas, under the Gangster Act, or the IPC.

The human rights violations that this amounts to, is a record, and a reason for UP to be ashamed of, as it is about to host an international investors summit in February.

The human rights record of UP has always been very painful, and while the current regime has promised a crime free environment that promotes, growth, the blunt murders are not a long lasting solution to tame the crime rate.

The criminal justice system has to be relied upon and with new times, methods that aim at rehabilitating the criminals need to be used, and the crime rackets are to be dismantled from within.

The lack of opportunities in UP also remains one of the reasons to push many industrious youth to the path of crime, which will attract great measures and a holistic approach to correct the future.

The task at hand with the NHRC is to conduct an independent inquiry into all the 931 encounters, to ascertain whether the people killed, were shot on the grounds of necessity, or were there any motives other than protection of the state in the mind.

The way forward, will need a social moulding and strict Police force, that instills civic discipline in UP. And the probe will reveal whether there were any just and compelling reason that led to killing of 931 people, or it was just vendetta, or a political onslaught, in disguise.


Finding the Truth Behind the Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984

The horrid pictures of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots remain afresh in the minds of those who saw the riots, and whenever the fact that a community that defended the Vedic Brahmanists from the Muslim tyrants, for years, was persecuted due to a political assassination is worth giving a thought to a vast field of aspects the Indian society.

The Supreme Court while hearing a plea pertaining to the investigation and inquiry into the 241 cases pending against the alleged perpetrators found out that the investigations were not held properly.

The petition is filed filed by S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, aims to fast-track the process of delivering justice to those who suffered at the hands of the perpetrators.

We recall the name of Indira Gandhi loyalist Mr Jagdish Tytler, who was the main accused in the case, but was granted a clean chit in the case due to lack of conclusive evidence. This happened after a long 20 years after institution of the case against him and others.

The long line of judicial commissions that have been constituted one after the other have been ineffective at administering justice. The common political rhetoric has never gathered around the anti-Sikh riots, thus it saw the rise of the Akalis in Punjab.

Captain Amarinder Singh has ruled, only because of his personal charisma as the one who belongs to the royal family. The Congress, and many national political parties shun the anti-Sikh riots only on the ground, as being a moral retort for the masses, who cherished Indira ji as their supreme leader.

The major national parties, or anybody for that matter would never want the Prime Minister or a Chief Minister assassinated in public. Though, the riots were not a moral retort.

The last commission, or the Special Investigation Team that was constituted closed 186 cases without investigations. The petitioner prayed for justice to the people, and the Court ordered a constitution of a new SIT headed by retired Justices J M Panchal and K S P Radhakrishnan of the Supreme Court to head the new SIT, and look into the closure of 241 cases.

The post apartheid truth type of mode of undoing the acts of barbarianism in the Anti-Sikh riots is one feature that is a feature of the Anti-Sikh riots fact finding path. The State tried to take an active role in the investigation by appointing 10 commissions in the past 27 years, which bore no fruits.

The victims have not been heard, and the way in which the Congress governments gave monetary grants to Punjab in the aftermath of operation blue star, is the only way the State possibly tried to do justice.

Yet the victims voices remain unheard, and the secular fabric needs devoted effort at bringing the perpetrators to justice before it becomes too late.

The newly appointed SIT, must take the cases seriously unless the proverb, justice delayed is justice denied assumes another example.



Patriotism on the Sleeve: SC & Govt On National Anthem Row

Saare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara, one would love to cherish this song whenever and wherever, and the occasions which celebrate the establishment and conduct of swaraj in this land is a living example of the moment when we as Indians rejoice to all the patriotic tunes.

The narrative regarding the deviance of the society from patriotism got a new push in the aftermath of the surgical strikes conducted against Pakistan in the year 2015, and the more aggravated form arose when the note-ban incident happened.

The people were explaining that if one loves their country, then any sacrifice for the motherland is falling for short of pay the gratitude to this land. The Right wing, which currently rules the country not only at the Centre, but in states and civic bodies, is depicted by its rigourous stand on nationalism.

The nationalist sentiment is the one which has gained prominence in India, today, because most of the past has been maligned by various leaders at various times, who did not pay much heed to building a sense of patriotism in the masses.

The Right wing gets is fuel to pour into the debate of nationalism vs contempt for one’s land because the dominant political narrative has been about divisive political agendas gaining ground in caste, religion or gender divides. The famous Mandal and post Mandal politics divided the society and catalysed the ‘caste-wars’ which have not been able to loose the spotlight.

The more gloomy scenario comes from the brain drain that India today faces in every economic aspect of life due to the socialistic pattern of society, which made the masses walk-away from the welfare state.

The successive governments, though have been trying to work towards the betterment of the masses, yet there has always been something that has remained unfulfilled.

It is often said these days that patriotism is only to be seen when India plays a cricket match against Pakistan, or when there is a Facebook debate going on, yet nobody dares to remark that when the people dirty the public places, or fight with the law enforcement, play fraud on the taxman, and when they struggle for their livelihood they are unpatriotic.

The definition of patriotism has been simply defined as love for their country. The Supreme Court, in its order of 30th November, 2016, wherein a bench of the current CJI Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy, directed all the cinema halls to play the national anthem.

The order was questioned by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, Justice DY Chandrachud, where he simply said that the society goes to a cinema hall for undiluted entertainment which must not be meddled with by preaching a lesson of patriotism, as it isn’t a rule to wear patriotism on their sleeve.

The Government of India yesterday moved an application before the Supreme Court, requesting it to order status quo ante, and let the issue be decided by a joint committee which has been constituted by the government to suggest ways of implementing the order in other ways, or read into its impact.

The move of the Government needs a perspective which the Court try to bring to the fore, it is the dissociation of the masses from the motherland, which needs to be addressed to make people more nation oriented over other matters.

India first-Patriotism on the sleeve.

After the Bhim Army, Now its Bhima-Koregaon: The Dalit Protests

The protests today by the Dalits in the commercial capital brought the entire city to a halt. The Dalit leaders of Maharashtra, backed by various Dalit representative fronts took to the streets. These protests in the author’s opinion do not relate themselves to the Maratha-Dalit divide, but is another catalyst trying to tap into a vote-bank.

The last year saw a Bhim Army led by a man not very famously known in the city of Saharanpur that gave some traction to the receding BSP votes in the municipal elections in UP. Now the last year saw the Marathas staging a Dharna, demanding abolition of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, and scrapping of the reservation for Dalits in educational institutes and government jobs.

The incident that was witnessed in the commercial capital of the nation was one that loomed into a wildfire due to an intrusion in a rally of a  Dalit community Mahar, that was observing their yearly felicitation of the martyrs in the British war against the Peshwas.  The intrusion was allegedly, made by two bike borne persons who were waving saffron flags.

The felicitation had gained much traction in the recent years as the Peshwas were believed to be casteist Brahmins who made Mahars tie brooms to their ankles in order to erase any foot marks they  made while walking as they were untouchables. Amazingly, though, the Peshwas endorsed the warfare abilities of the Mahars, and there was a military general in the army of Shivaji.

The Mahrashtra government led by Devendra Fadanavis immediately took action and ordered a judicial committee to look into the incident. The government also assured the Mumbaikars that they may peacefully carry on their routine activities as the situation is under control, yet the Dalit squads enforced a Bandh. The leaders who are catching the spotlight in the turmoil are Gujarat’s newly elected Jignesh Mewani, and Dr. Ambedkar’s never heard of grandson.

These people were also there in Bhima-Koregaon before the felicitation function took place, and along with them was Umar Khalid as well.

The meaning is nothing so far, but only a hint, while the rest of the country is trying to respond to the call of Hinduism in danger, there are other forces at play who are trying to tear into the consolidated Hindu vote bank which will create an imbalance in the BJPs vote share.

The idea is, one orchestrated effort to further divide the masses on the lines of caste and religion for very obvious ends of parties that see it tough to come to power. The voters here, yet are smart, and they don’t easily dig into anybody’s promises.

Arvind Kejriwal won the Delhi elections, and faces an anti-incumbency wave in the upcoming elections, while there are many other people who see the BJP loosing Madhya Pradesh.

While the political narrative finds new routes to fetch the crown for someone or the other, the reader must think very openly, whether or not there exists a nexus between the Bhim Army event, and the Bhima-Koregaon, where the direct outcome may be caste-polarisation,

Only if the people in the political circles had a better level of intellect that advised them to play better tricks, India would not have shamed itself in the world to wake up to a violent bandh organised by the Dalits, that too after so many years of practicing reform measures and beneficial policies for the protection and advancement of the Dalits.

Special Courts for Cases Against Legislators: SC Aims to Decriminalise Politics?

The Supreme Court has nudged the Central Government on a PIL filed by a Delhi BJP leader, and an Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya, seeking directions from the Supreme Court to expedite proceedings in the ‘1581’ cases pending against members of Parliament and the Members of Legislative Assemblies.

The Supreme Court has stirred another hornet’s nest which has been in the lurch since the Election Commission last tried to promote a blanket ban on candidates with criminal background from contesting elections.

The move of the election commission did not go down well with the legislators of all hues from the entire country. Meanwhile, in the SC the Government in its affidavit has cited the report of the 11th Finance Commission which advised setting up of 12 courts in the states where the number of cases range higher than 65. The government has also pegged an expenditure of Rs 65 lakh per court. The commission also stated that such fast track courts would deal with 165 cases annually.

The issue that has been dealt with here, is based on a report compiled by the ADR, (Association for Democratic Reforms). The Government also informed the Court, that there doesn’t exist any mechanism to monitor cases against the legislators and there also no data as how many fresh cases have been registered against legislators after 2014.

The Supreme Court has remained cautious and yet has ordered that the government must set up the courts at the earliest and wrap up all the pending cases within one year. Thus this move does not touch any other aspects of the laws that must be put in place to decriminalize politics.

The immunity provisions that legislators enjoy during their term may not allow the entire process bearing great results. The major political parties may also see themselves in a fix if their sitting legislators are incriminated and found guilty. The Court has also allowed the EC to remain at ease despite its lack of data regarding the litigation pending against the legislators.

The EC needs to be given more powers which has not been talked of in the judgment. Legislators involved in litigation must deserve a clean chit first to be able to contest elections, while any kind of criminal litigation pending must be a blanket ban on their seeking election.

The Supreme Court has set its foot a great path that will eventually led to decriminalizing the politics that is being pursued in India. The Representation of People’s Act must be one that makes the powers with the EC more effective assuring quality legislators being put up by parties.

There must also be a regulation on the profession of a Politician, which remains the least regulated professions, and is the need of the hour to reflect the apt consciousness of the masses.

The Supreme Court has also observed the apt need to fast track the cases on an urgent need as these cases may not be genuine, but may just be a move aimed at marring the reputation of the ‘imandaar neta’.

The direction is appreciated, while the response of the Government and the EC are not in line with the promise of ensuring politics free from anti-social elements.

The RIC Equation

The Indian Minister for External Affairs Mrs Sushma Swaraj hosted the foreign ministers from Russia and China on a joint visit to India. While many observers find it to be not worthy of any substance as they warn India to not to rely on the Chinese diplomacy, there is a wider perspective this Russia-India-China trilateral has to offer to Indians.

While Russians have distanced themselves from any direct association with the Pakistanis, China has remained the only all-weather ally, while at the same time China has asked Pakistan to reign in the various terrorists that make Pakistan bite bullets at every international forum.

The RIC is a group of the most powerful nations of Asia and one of the most powerful nations apart from the US led European bloc in the UN. This grouping on a joint statement at New Delhi fastened the beliefs that all these nations believe in countering terrorism at the bud. This means a lot to the trouble that has been fomenting in Pakistan, which is unrestrained and is actually detrimental to its own health.

The Indian side has not been able to reach any consensus with the Chinese on Jaish-e-Mohammad, and they have not even pressed for any such consensus with the Chinese, yet there is a wide consensus relating to Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba, al-Qaida, ISIS and a few more infiltrators.

The Russians, Chinese and Indians co-operating to counter terrorism offers  another dimension to the void which the Asian powers had created over creating a progressive stand on the American NATO which has been creating unstable equations in the Asia minor and elsewhere.

While the world is being marred by polarisation, an Indian partnership with the Russians and Chinese offers the ability to negotiate and deal with all outcomes of polarised world where India will witness the success of the non-aligned stand taken by it since long.

The fears that China may move in an ill productive manner to rope in all the developing nations to corner India are also ill-founded when China and Russians have accepted the Indian hospitality and have asked India to partner with China to share a mutual growth story, which is not narrated by the hegemonic America led Euro bloc.

The Russia-India-China is not a trickery as long as it serves a common purpose at the UN as well and creates a strong partnership. None but the idealists would expect a sudden change in the plans of the Chinese, yet the Chinese who have been abiding by the international law at all times, must be given a benefit of doubt once.

The program also offers scope for Xi Jinping’s ideas to involve all the political ideologies of the globe to formulate a common minimum program for enhanced mutual co-operation and trust.

This will not trick the world but provide a suitable alternative to India to promote its leadership in the UN, while the world struggles to get square with the Brexit and a weakening US.