Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The ticking time-bomb between Indian state and judiciary

The Indian Supreme Court finds the State “impotent.”

Now, I won’t get into showing State’s potency in how it stood its ground in Doklam, on Ukraine, on conducting surgical strikes etc, etc. 

Nor would I try to show judiciary impotent in how Ram Janmabhoomi hang fire for decades; how sealed envelope tamasha was seen in farmers’ protests; how National Human Rights Commission on post-poll violence in Bengal hasn’t mattered; how Sonia and Rahul Gandhi continue to be on bail in National Herald case; a Shah Bano; how the judiciary fared during the Emergency, etc etc. 

Nor do I strive to show alleged judicial bais on how it looked at kanwarias from an Eid celebration; a Palghar from a Lakhimpur Kheri; a Mohammad Zubair from Nupur Sharma on freedom of speech; a commoner from an elite for whom the court opens at midnight; selective suo motos  etc, etc. 

Nor is it my endeavour to show judicial overreach on how it tried to micro-manage oxygen cylinders and hospital beds during the pandemic; on how it asked State for a committee to protect investors during the Adani saga, never mind the judiciary’s setting aside a RBI order cost investors thousands of crores in continuation of trade in virtual tokens/cryptocurrencies. 

I am looking at how things could transpire in coming days between the Indian judiciary and the State. 

It’s only humans after all who occupy a chair, howsoever important it might be. 

Humans could go senile or rogue and we all know that happens.

Power is power, much like a stink which still hits your nostrils in an orchard as badly as it would around a drain. 

In case of an authoritarian regime, it’s given they decide who arrests, who judges. 

In democracy, it has the veneer of people’s will though power is still brute in the hands of those who could call the State “impotent” yet seemingly ignore a worse instance in Kerala (check here). 

Thus one would be a fool to claim that all judges in an authoritarian regime are corrupt; or that all judges in democracy are lily-white pure. 

Of course, a Modi is not a Cambyses who had a corrupt judge Sisamnes flayed alive and his skin cut into leather strips in the Persian Empire of sixth century BCE. 

Nor our Supreme Court judges are the mirror-image of Thomas J. Maloney who served a dozen years in jail for taking bribes on murder cases. 

In case, at this very moment you are having funny ideas, I won’t rercommend former law minister Shanti Bhushan who claimed, under an affidavit no less, that eight of the last 16 Chief Justice of India, were corrupt

None of this you see is my purpose of penning this piece. 

I am wondering if and when gloves would be off between the State and Judiciary in India. 

They look increasingly frayed next to each other; a return to diluted Article 370 in J & K, enforcement of same-sex marriage etc could well be the moment when the penny would drop. 

If and when that happens, and it could well be before the 2024 polls, the nation would be engulfed in fire. 

People on street and the mayhem in Western media or their lawmakers would feed each other. 

India’s High Commissioners would be summoned (Indian ambassadors might not – figure that out); people would be on street and before long the Monarch of this world would say in disgust: “India’s glorious tradition of democracy (as it was of Britishers’ India-building) has vanished in last decade.”

It would be followed by sanctions, and more sanctions, till a nation under torment would give up on Modi, or the successors cast in his image. 

A new regime in India, who knows, would be more amenable to “voice of reason” from across the seas.

A new regime in India, who knows, would see Ukraine—and Russia—in different light. 

All this would happen if the State shows the judiciary its place rather than let it screw up its nose on a billion-plus citizens who have chosen the government as their representative. 

So for all we know, there could be something more sinister cooking in the background. 

Those who don’t want India to grow, and be independent, and not useful in Ukraine or QUAD, are working overtime to throw a spanner and have a more pliant regime. 

One suspected their hand in protests on CAA; on farm laws etc. 

Judiciary is one such another card which India-breakers would love to have in their fist.

I am sure India-breakers don’t have a judiciary card up their sleeves already — but I would rather have you make up your own mind than take my “I-am-sure” on face value. 

After all, how much a poor soul like me could know about this wretched world?

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