The Constitution is like the fifth Veda for Indians. Luckily, instead of being a rigid book it has turned out to be as flexible as the Sanatan Dharma, changing with times and open to more than one interpretations. It has already been amended 100-odd times depending on the whims of the party in power or political expediency. The 126th amendment by the Modi government extending the quota for SC/STs by 10 years is an example of the latter and the BJP had brought in 10% job quota for Savarnas as a lollipop for its core supporters who are mostly upper castes.
There are two recent examples of differences in interpretations. First features the Modi government trying to “put” the highest court of the land in its place when the judges pointed out the flaws in its vaccination policy. That Modi ultimately ate crow, course corrected and is now trying to paint it as a masterstroke is a different debate.
The majesty of Supreme Court here was protected more by Modi’s fear of losing votes as his mismanagement of the Covid pandemic starting from Namaste Trump to Bengal jamboree has ravaged the nation resulting in millions dying and destroyed lives of all except the rich and upper middle class. Of course, Bengal voters too deserve some credit. The results of Bengal elections show that Indian voters are discerning and cannot be taken for a ride by bluster and slogans like “Jai Shi Ram”. The high decibel propaganda by Shah and PM Modi failed.
While the common man rejoices at the Supreme Court bringing the Modi government to its heel, two recent judgements imposing penalties on litigants while dismissing the pleas against the Modi government have raised eyebrows. The first declared the Central Vista project as one of national importance and fined the litigants Rs 1 lakh. It has been challenged in the Supreme Court for overlooking some facts. The second is the Rs 20 lakh penalty on Juhi Chawla for demanding curbs on the introduction of 5G technology. What is even more intriguing is the court’s observation that it was done for publicity. Juhi Chawla needing a court case for publicity is an oxymoron. But then there are judges who sang paeans of Modi when they were in office, bailed out BJP leaders and are leading a royal life post retirement. But these spineless committed judges have, so far, not shaken common man’s belief in the Indian judiciary. But they have stirred the intelligentsia into raising voice against closet Sanghis. This is not the first time that some in judiciary are being accused of toeing the government line. But now they are more shameless and the Modi government is more brazen in finding ways to have its say. An example of this is how the Modi government nixed the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as the chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The judge had delivered two major verdicts in the Gujarat high court in cases relating to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah between 2010 and 2011. The Bar had pointed this out at the time of his transfer to the Bombay High Court by the Modi government to prevent him from becoming the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.
Let’s return to the Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista faceoff between the common man and Narendra Modi. The majority of Indians who did not vote for BJP and Narendra Modi are distressed that he is splurging Rs 20,000 crore on a project to satisfy his vanity and desperation to carve the name Modi on Indian body politic. And that too when his mismanagement of the economy and COVID pandemic have crippled the nation and destroyed millions of families. The Modi government asked the court to impose exemplary fine on the litigants. The court’s interpretation of law and ruling sends a wrong signal that the common man must not dare question Modi’s Tughlaqi firmans.
Various cases relating to BJP governments in Centre as well states misusing UAPA & sedition charges to harass those ideologically opposed to BJP-RSS are becoming test cases of whether the common man can expect the judiciary to protect him from the Bullies Sangh. Lest we forget, justice delayed is justice denied. Also at times as soon as the litigant wins, he is booked under some other section of the law by these governments. Time has come for the courts to give exemplary punishment to government officials and their political masters who misuse law to persecute, torment and oppress dissenters.
People and parties who are elected to power under a democratic constitution like ours must not forget that they are in power for a limited term. They should not try to subvert the system and poison the atmosphere to stay in power for ever. India is not Russia, courts cannot be handmaidens of the executive and like a dictator Putin, the dissenters Navalny be poisoned. Even Russian judiciary is compromised and has outlawed Navalny’s political organisation. In our country too some judges don’t have spine and are ready to bend and kow tow to the dictatorial executive. Modi’s drive for Vipaksh-mukt Bharat is Indian variant of Putin virus.
Jingping’s Galwan backstabbing and Modi’s insult of martyrs by denying Chinese intrusions shocked the nation. But now it seems he is paying Guru Dakshina to his Han masters. The frequent visits to China, before and after he became the Prime Minister, were for coaching classes in persecution of minorities. China has been harassing Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Tibetans. It has been using forced sterilisation and poverty, relocation of population from these areas to China and vice versa along with strong arm tactics to force the locals into submission and change the demography to the disadvantage of the indigenous population.
Modi too is doing a Jingping and trying his hands at demographic restructuring in Jammu and Kashmir by amputating Ladakh and changing laws for property purchase. He did not implement Supreme Court’s order in Jammu and Kashmir’s 4G case and got away with en masse detentions of opposition leaders, activists and lawyers of the state along with complete lockdown and communications blackout. Even national leaders were not allowed to visit the state, although foreign lawmakers were brought t Kashmir for guided tours. The courts could not give the oppressed common man any respite. This was again felt in the aftermath of anti-CAA and Delhi riots crackdowns. Now in Assam, his party chief minister is giving special advice to Muslims to embrace family planning. This when NFHS-5 shows that contraceptive use is highest among married Muslim women at 49.6%. This makes Hemant Biswa Sarma another pracharak of RSS’s experiments with untruth. India has flourished because of its unity but RSS is working hard to replace Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam with Sangh Samyukta Parivar. It represents a clear and present danger to Indian democracy and ethos.
The common man’s trust in and respect for the four pillars of democracy have taken a severe beating over the past seven years. They were never considered squeaky clean but the rotten apples feared social ridicule and we’re discrete. Now the minions wear it as a badge of honour. Just like in the case of climate change, the tipping point is near and the results will be as disastrous for India if the concerned actors don’t get their act. In their rush to reshape India in their image, RSS-BJP are hurriedly destroying the edifice of democracy and social fabric without realising that Bhakts too will get buried when it all comes down. The politicians worry only about elections, Babus about “right” posting and some judges are riled if called “Your Honour” instead of “My Lord”. The common man has to realise that ultimately he moulds the destiny of the nation. People elect the government they want but get the government they deserve.
This story was first appeared on timesofindia.indiatimes.com