Competitive ‘laughing stock
You have been ‘laughing stock’. I have not been the same so far. And why should I left behind as the ‘odd man out’? If latter is the thought, and wish so to compete for the same, India would be left with none to take care of its democratic credibility.
Democracy all over the world including India has got four pillars. They are executive, legislature, judiciary and media. In many of my columns, I use to argue that civil society, which comprises NGOs, intellectuals, writers, artists, businessmen and elite professionals, is another pillar of democracy. And, in many times, I have aligned civil society with media as because they present their views and thoughts through media. Therefore, if we count the last one; in total, there are five pillars.
So, so far what I have understood all of them -excluding judiciary till the recent past- have been ‘laughing stock’ for their unprecedented professional omission and commission. And now what I notice the judiciary is competing to adorn this robe of ‘laughing stock’.
The domains of executive and legislature –the virtual rulers of the country- have been occupied by politicians who get elected periodically through democratic elections. Before being elected, they use to promise the heaven to the voters. Despite their promises before several general elections, when the country celebrates her Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a large section of society is still living in acute poverty. For them, this celebration is another event they have to toil hard to happen for daily wages of few hundred rupees via event contractors. They are still struggling to access the basic needs of human survival such as food, house, water, road, hospital, education, etc., while politicians are busy building their family dynasties and looting the treasury. During early days of independence, the rose clad elites and their die-hard sycophants from middle-class were ruling the nation. Later some from aam aadmi rose to the position of ruling the states/country. And they prefer to be part of earlier ruling class ignoring their own class they were born into and brought up in. For them, aam aadmis are just vote-banks in name of classes, castes, religions, regions, languages, and many more they could innovate. These politicians literally fight in public spaces including legislature like ordinary criminals. Law makers become law breakers, reducing them to ‘laughing stock’. And democracy has been dynocracy(democratically elected dynasties). They are accountable to people in every five years, yet in the meanwhile they don’t hesitate to reduce India to the level of another bankrupt Sri Lanka, lawless Pakistan and autocratic Myanmar; all for their family political interests.
Coming to media, they are preservers of democracy’s most precious object that is Freedom of Speech and Expression protected by Indian Constitution in Article 19. And they are not accountable to anybody though the profession is portrayed as ears, eyes and mouths of aam aadmis. Are they ears, eyes and mouths of the people or serving the media owners/share-holders interests and their(journalists) own for the remunerations announced by the Western White Supremacists billionaires and vested interests in the name of their defined secular and liberal fanaticism ignoring world’s oldest civilization’s value system? Media neutrality and value have been thrown to the dustbins.
The same has been the case with civil society. Majority of them have been reduced to paid letter writers/petitioners, columnists, public speakers, artists and what not. As per the reports leaked out of investigative agencies, many of them are found blocking different development projects in the country through agitations and judiciary at the behest of Western and Chinese agencies, and their funding received through illegal channels such as money laundering. They are the country’s elite and the conscience keepers of the country, yet they behave as if they are brokers of antinational forces based in India and abroad for a few thousand rupees. For them, anything Indian and Hindu and their culture, civilization, history and ethos are mythical, illiberal and communal.
Finally, let us discuss the judiciary, the last hope of the democratic India. The last hope of the country as because it is assigned to play the role of respected neutral umpire among the institutions, who carry the responsibility of democratic governance of India, and plays the role of balancer. But, their latest activities have been increasing found they are tempted to adorn the ill-famous robe of ‘laughing stock’ a la other institutions/organs. Though they are product of Indian Constitutional mandate, they should not forget that they are not accountable to anybody but to their conscience. But, sadly, their consciences don’t dictate them to submit their annual property disclosure(This practice has been there in 60% of countries on the earth), which has been demoted to voluntary in 2009 from mandatory in 1997, (only two -including present CJI- out of 32 Supreme Court judges have made the voluntary disclosure) at a time when there is widespread questioning of judiciary corruption contributing to public ridicule of judicial propriety. During latest 49 days long summer vacation, when the Chief Justice of India was addressing the Indian American audience in the US, he stated, “Let me make it clear, we (SC) are answerable to the Constitution and the Constitution alone, to enforce checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, we need to promote constitutional culture in India and spread the awareness of roles and responsibilities of individual institutions”. Has the constitution mandated judges appoint judges? Who has got this amendment in the constitution? The judge, who piloted this amendment, latter lamented for the mistake he instituted in the Constitution as the same has been exploited by some corrupt elements in the judiciary, and as a result of which, large-scale dubious and substandard elements sneaked into the system. Two of the same elements -now retired- from India’s SC and HC were abused in a district court in the UK reducing Indian higher judiciary to ‘laughing stock’ in the West.
In his column with title “The Future of the Indian Constitution” in The New Indian Express Senior Advocate Supreme Court Kaleeswaram Raj writes, “Recently the Chief Justice of India lamented the lack of adequate space for the opposition in the nation’s political scenario. He also expressed concern over the lack of democratic discourse in Parliament. Though on the face of it the observation would appear to be political, they are essentially constitutional concerns.” Yes, this author agrees that the above issue is a constitutional concern. In the same way, are 4.5 crores pending cases in Indian judiciary not a constitutional concern? In our country, there are plenty of instances in which cases are running in the courts for generations, and people up to their grand children died without getting justice. Is getting justice not a constitutional right of law-abiding citizen when court can be opened in mid-night for proclaimed terrorist? Therefore, it comes to mind: If at present there was political leadership of 1970s kind, which appointed its lenient judge superseding many seniors and respected, that would not hesitate to say ‘mind your own business’ for which there are enough reasons.
By Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
(The writer is Research Fellow at DRaS and Faculty of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institution, Bhubaneswar.)