Judiciary- torchbearer or trespasser?


Lord Bryce once said,”If the lamp of justice goes out in darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Montesquieu tried to appear as a moderator in the tug of war between the various institutions of a functional democracy. The Separation of Powers proved to be a futile experiment as the difference between legitimate intervention and interference came to seen as highly spurious.

The present Government has been facing the flak from the judiciary on a varied number of issues. The most recent judgement on the Uttarakhand deadlock has made the government loose a quantum of self esteem.

The annexationist executive for now at least will look to avoid a scenario where the government finds itself in a flawed position. More so, because the government in the past could not materialise its NJAC agenda with Ravishankar Prasad accusing the judiciary of ignorance of the value of elected representatives.

But when the Parliament ‘elected representatives’ who cannot fare better even as a Sarpanch or a Panchayat Pradhan are MPs and the Temple of Democracy is recalcitrant-can we expect a reluctant judiciary? The quality of debate has followed a downhill, with speakers in Parliament coming with the additional burden of spraying pepper in their colleague’s eyes.

Derek O Brien of the TMC in an interview to Barkha Dutt used the idiom ” I will scratch your back and you will scratch mine” to underline the behind the door understandings between two pan Indian National Parties-a system of democracy that is slowly becoming truly bipolar in more ways than one increasing chances of botch ups.

The judiciary was bolstered with criticism by the Union Finance Minister of the Country. Incidentally, the Congress party alongside other political parties chose to remain on the side of the government.

History says when the political class unites, it is to save its own interests from getting squelched. When you get to see ideologically or opportunistic adversarial political parties coming together to press their demand for a pay hike, then you surely come to know the seriousnessof their self accaimed virtues.

The judiciary has also crossed the Lakshman Rekha in an attempt to come across as the ultimate authority of the Constitution. The tactical ball game played by the Judiciary in the First and Second Judge’s cases further prove the theorem of judicial activism.

Even the opaque system of selection of judges and politicisation of the judiciary is a truth that cannot be denied by the most ardent follower of the legal system.

But the seriousness of the government can be questioned with ease, even if the demanour of the judiciary in certain cases are instrumental in enterprising the dictatorship of the nyalyaya.

The government has chosen to bark when its interests looks compromised. The question of judiciary’s bias has been a permanent feature through the years. The repentance of Justice Verma on the misinterpretation of his judgement was used as a point of reference by Arun Jaitley in the Legislature vs Judiciary debate moderated by Arnab Goswami of Times Now.

Judges have been seen wining and dining in embassies which have raised eyebrows of many people. The West Bengal CM has alleged in the past that favourable judgements were being exchanged for money. A case was lodged against her because of the remarks.

But the political class still dominates the proceedings of the judiciary directly or tacitly. Grapevine has it that Gopal Subramanian was not promoted in the legal ladder because of his judgement which went against Amit Shah.

On a similar note, the Emergency was put in place mainly because of one judgement of Jagmohanlal Sinha. Seniority as a principle was breached in 1973 and 1977 in the process of the election of the CJI because the seniormost judges could not place the hat at the Ephemeral Dictator’s feet.

The judiciary needs modification for sure. But before that it is the Legislature that needs to go through (to quote JP) “total revolution.”

parliament and federalism-a farcical play


Devolution of powers to the local levels provide the safest transition to democracy.Gram Swaraj,which was the brainchild of Gandhi, aimed at greater popular sovereignty.The diversity of culture and evils of alien rule increased the thirst for a more aggressive popular participation.

The debate between presidential vs parliamentary systems of governance had always been a subject of argument,with a snooper government aiming for a latter form of administration.But still federal politics identified the role of a future India. But the greater sense of strength lay with the Union Government.

It is a bit like you are overshadowed by the whims and fancies of your big brother. The emergence of Nehru as the undisputed leader of the Congress and the Government made it amply clear that the post of the Prime Minister would be the most sought after engine in the coming decades.

The federal structure was initiated in India through the Montague-Chelmsford reforms of 1919. The subsequent acts prejudiced such a system when the Government Of India Act was passed during the tenure of Lord Willingdon in 1935.Inherently,the Indan constitution depicts the formation of Goddess Durga as key male Gods submitted their powers and weapons to the new Saviour of the Almighty.Similarly our law of the land presents an amalgam of key features of the constitutions of Ireland,Canada,USA and more importantly the British Convention.

But with the fading away of Lady Mountbatten-Nehru relation,the age of consensus expired. The role of regionalism and factionalism had gripped the Congress Party by then.As Helen danced away on the screens of Hindi showbiz the control of the Union Government became stringent.

The absence of social media and active television press did not forbid the politicians from engaging in pokes and poaching.Jagjivan Ram, left the Congress Party just before the 1977 elections.The power of federalism had reduced itself to the antiques of a realist democracy-not an idealist one.

The country once burstling with pride because of its ‘democratic credentials’ saw a complete descendence of rigged voting in Bengal in the 1972 state elections.The consensual figure which Nehru claimed he was,could not protect his usp as Federal Democracy was murdered and abducted in Kerala in 1959. The irony of the situation is that the Left which claimed to be the victim in both the cases mastered the art of rigging in Bengal.As one CPI(M) leader proudly said that in Kerala they kill the dissenters.

The Communists love sex and blood more than Priya Rai enjoys the art of blowjobs.The only great remorse I feel looking back at history of this time is the lack of a certain notorious,semi-handsome individual called Arvind Kejriwal.His moustached,small face could have posed serious challenges to the more traditional clout of kurta clad politicians.

As Mithunda’s dancing skills created quite a rage with Bappi da’s scintillating music,pariament saw the vindictive Shah Commission take charge of Indira Gandhi’s rule.Parliament,the temple of democracy had been reduced to a crash course of numbers.The art of giving same attention to each state got replaced by favouritism and bias by the then Congress regime.

The emergency of 2 years reduced the ideas of liberty,justice and equality that the Parliamentary Constitution provides.Lack of liberty manifested itself in the reduction of autonomy of the press,even as the Times Of India fairly agreed to the diktat.The Indira demand for a more pliant press seemed to have worked. Equality absolutely faced draught as opposition leaders and the apolitical JP Narayan were jailed.Parliament and its machinery could not control the changing form of Democratic Dictatorship-a term coined by Mao Tse Tung in undemocratic China.

The curse of federal structure did not end here-rather it only consumed itself even in the executive and judicial field.The ample scope of administrative control in the selection of judges has only furthered the process of shallowness of a federal and parliamentary democracy.Many Chief Ministers facing not a great rapport with the Central Government has only strengthened the picture of lack of cooperation-a necessary evil in an integrated but autonmous system.

Only 5 states today have bicameral pariamentary legislatures.The non state actors like human rights commissions and NGOs have been declared as 5 star activists.Voices of dissent are not being digested in parliamentary form of governance -which accidentally gives the rights to the people to question the government and governance.

With many members of Union and State legislatures having nothing much to do except scams and sprinkling pepper on the eyes of their colleagues,others prefer to watch intimate physical exercises on the floor of the house or rather talk about busty babes of South India.Those who have nothing to do doze off as important bill and rapes are discussed.

Federal structure on the other hand hears the cacophony of CM’s of parties not in power in Delhi crying foul and state leaders fighting in the capital for state packages and cut offs.The rise of regional chauvanism may have strengthened democracy and federalism,but it has failed to mobilize progress and eradcate lop sided growth.

Below the table deals and practical politics is the rule of the day.The issue of Cash For Votes Scam still remains largely unresolved.Self Served parliament blockades and logjams consume the major prtion of debates and delbrations.Quasi federalism,incompetent armoury of Parliament and provocative authoritarianism may well serve the purpose of tyranny of the majority.