Judiciary in the dock
Barkha Dutt in Courting seclusion (September 22) questions the impartiality of judges with her typical sarcasm saying: “Can we count on the cozy club of judges to be impartial with one of their own?” Can we count on a journalist like her to impartially comment on the former Chief Justice YK Sabharwal vs Mid-day case? In the Justice Ramaswamy case, the judge was indicted by fellow judges but saved by the ruling party. There are several cases where sitting judges have found fellow judges guilty. One has to trust judges even if there are a few black sheep. Justice Sabharwal would do well to write to the CJI and ask for an enquiry into his case.
Every Indian expects transparency, liability, accountability and credibility from the judiciary. Punishing Mid-Day reporters without a proper trial over their allegations against the retired Chief Justice of India seems unfair. But our judicial system is not run in an authoritarian manner. So, there should be a debate on how to monitor the judiciary. The judiciary uses the contempt of court provision as an autocratic weapon to curb the independence of watchdogs like the media.
It is shocking to know that there are grave charges against a former Chief Justice of India. The analysis opens up a timely debate that would bring in better transparency to the functioning of our often sluggish judiciary. There must be some kind of mechanism to sue the judges for the wrongs they do. Otherwise, when their tribe increases, the people of this nation may have to suffer.
The case of former CJI YK Sabharwal favouring his sons in securing commercial establishments has become so controversial. Our Constitution guarantees equality for all, high and low, but it goes against the logic and legitimacy of the law to leave out judges despite the fact that a former CJI is on record saying that at least 20 per cent of the judges are corrupt.
The controversy surrounding the former Chief Justice of India brings into focus the harsh reality that some of the outstanding institutions in India are disintegrating and the lure of lucre is taking over. The very fact that the National Judicial Council cannot act against the Chief Justice of India and retired judges makes this body an impotent and toothless set-up. It is imperative that some kind of mechanism is put in place to make judges accountable for their acts like the rest of us.
Origins of terror
In his article Invisible, invincible (September 27), Amit Baruah has rightly pointed out the emergence of local jehadis in various parts of the world took place after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. But the sudden eruption of pan-Islamic violence in Kashmir then was overlooked. It was during the late 1980s that the locals along with the foreign mercenaries unleashed the ongoing terror in Kashmir. If only the world community, particularly the West, had taken cognisance of the suicide bombing in Srinagar by Mohammed Bilal, 9/11, London and Madrid bombings could well have been avoided.
The hostile remarks made by Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are quite unacceptable as the latter was an official guest at the function. Bollinger’s behaviour is a sign of US frustration. He must criticise the biggest dictator in the world, George W Bush, for ignoring world opinion and the United Nations Charter in attacking Iraq.
Back in time
Karan Thapar in Cat got our tongue? (September 27) should be aware of the facts that we had already burnt our fingers in raising our voices in such circumstances in the case of Bangladesh in 1971 and then with Sri Lanka after sending the IPKF there during Rajiv Gandhi’s time. Also, our involvement in the developments in Nepal too is no secret. And at present, we have enough problems that we got in return for our largesse to various countries.
The crisis in Myanmar does not require much help from India. The monks are doing a good job of putting the military on the mat.
Karan Thapar rightly advocates that India must support the Myanmarese in bringing democracy to that country. At this moment, the people of Myanmar need our support. The silence of the Indian government and other political leaders is simply a negation of our goodwill and duty. We should support their freedom movement for democracy.
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