Sunday, June 7, 2009

Selective justice...

A government comes into power in the state. The Advocate General (AG), an appointee of the previous government, resigns, like many other political appointees. The new government appoints its own candidates for these positions, including that of the AG. Naturally, they will tend to appoint their friends, rather than foes, for such critical positions.

Now, when a corruption charge comes up against the Chief of the Ruling Party, who was a former minister, and who is already tainted by taking many other deviations from the Party's normal Idealism. The Party - except his arch rival - the Chief Minister, who has little power or followers in the party's governing bodies - denies the corruption charges, and stands by its Chief. The CBI, which is investigating the case, wants to prosecute this Chief, for which it needs the permission of the state Governor. The Party (again, sans the CM) is still vehemently and aggressively with the Party Chief.

The Governor, going by convention, asks the opinion of the cabinet, about prosecuting the Chief. Now, what if the cabinet responds by saying - "No, dont prosecute our leader!"? Will it have any legitimacy? Will someone believe that the cabinet took a neutral decision, and they would have done the same thing even if the accused in the case was the Chief of the Opposition Party, because they are going by the merits of the case, and not to save its leader? No. Not someone with basic commonsense.

So the cabinet - endowed with copious amounts of basic commonsense - passes on the baton to the AG, to take the call. The AG is a "constitutional office" - separate from the government and the cabinet, even though he was appointed by the cabinet, and he still swears that he's a communist sympathizer (the communists are ruling the state). Commonsense prevailed again, with the AG recommending not to prosecute the Chief. No surprises there. What else did you expect?

The cabinet passes on the decision to the Governor, who has to take the final call.

The Governor, waits for some more time, talks to some more people (some say legal experts, and the CBI), and decided that the Chief should be prosecuted. The Chief and his party cries foul, and argues that this is the demise of democracy etc, with the Governor going by the police's voice than the democratically elected government's, or the constitutional office like the AG's.

Perhaps they dont realize that the executive, legislature and the judiciary has their own powers, and are independent to some extend. The democratic mandate does not mean that the ruler can do anything,steal government money, and then command the police and other such agencies not to investigate. It also does not mean to misuse another constitutional post (the AG's) to clear your own desk. All this is plain commonsense again.

The Party in power claims that governor belongs to the party in the current opposition in the state, and this was only expected out of him (just as the cabinet was expected to not allow prosecuting its Chief). Perhaps the Governor is biased towards his own party. But when it comes to the matter at hand, the facts of it are crystal clear. If the Party Chief is accused as guilty, he has to stand the trial. It is only expected out of politicians, just to make sure that they wont get away with murder and theft, just because they happen to be in power. This is the law of the land, and it is in our best interests that it applies for all, without exceptions.

What if the case was politically motivated, and was raised to thrash the communists and their leader? Wont his and his party's image will be tainted, unnecessarily? The party- who has come out of these ages of horrible corruption in the overall polity with a remarkable lack of blemishes - wont its image be lost? If its Chief is acquitted finally, will the party get back its lost prestige, wont the image of corruption stay for ever? After all, Jayalalitha, Narasimha Rao and Karunakaran came out of corruptions cases as the acquitted, still we refuse to believe that they were not corrupt, with good reason. Wont the same happen to the Chief and the Party?

Most probably, yes. But there is nothing that prevents the CPI(M) from becoming a party of corrupt than the non-corrupt. That its past history does not suggest so does not mean that the future holds the same. In fact, we should not forget that the present leaders can misuse the party's past name, and get away with it by reminding us of the party's non-corrupt history. There are many examples in politics where the party of idealism becoming the party of the most corrupt. Congress and BJP are good examples. There is no reason that the CPI(M) wont go in that way. After all, the world is changing, so are the people, the CPI(M) cadres, and the leaders. If the CPI(M) has started becoming corrupt, let the accused face trial, and hopefully, get convicted or acquitted based on the real merit of the case. That way a rot will be nipped in the beginning. If the Chief is innocent, let him come out the trial with a little blemish, which is better than a a non-trial causing a complete rot of the Party and the system. Obviously, CPI(M) has good history of being partisan with law, for example it had misused its power in the Jayakrishnan murder case, where it caused the government and police to lose the case against the CPI(M) cadres who butchered the RSS activist and school teacher in front of a whole class of little children in pure daylight, and the argument in support of this went in terms of upholding the Revolution and the Party in front of the bourgeois government and rule of law, Party is above democratic law (only Party laws apply to them), or that the rule of law cant stop the CPM-RSS violence, people still get killed in spite of the police, etc. Let's imagine for once that they are getting a retribution here, for being partisan with rule of law, with the Governor being partisan now.

So, it is in everybodys best interest that we have to make sure that justice and rule of law applies to everybody. The CPI(M) chief should stand trial, just like every Indian citizen. If he feels that other Congress leaders also must be tried (another of the Party's defense), then let the police register cases against them. Or argue in the court of law.

1 comment:

Charakan said...

I agree with you in this case.But you must have also heard Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer's opinion about this.