The Supreme Court of India’s verdict on the ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission’ Bill (NJAC Bill) was the most important development in the recent policymaking history of India.
And so, rightly, the nation was hooked to it.
The Indian society is going through a deep distress these days and the widespread corruption eating into every wing of social sphere – including political, administration and business – is responsible for it.
And corruption afflicts Indian judiciary in the same way.
But it is equally true as well that Indian Judiciary, especially its top echelons, have proved out to be the only hope for the ordinary folks – and it has happened multiple times.
Many a times, judicial activism (or judicial machinery) has presented itself as the only option in a seemingly barren land infested with political contradictions, U-turns and insensitivities – at each level of social weaving.
And more importantly, and pleasing to ears of masses, courts have kept in check and controlled many controversial politicians and political diktats.
Politicians, a breed that is supposed to be the pillar of the most important institutions in a democracy – its legislative units – in every constituent of the Federation – has become synonymous with insensitivity and apathy in India.
And if it has become so, politicians need to think about it, because now is the time.
‘Now’ is the time because the electorate opting out for newcomers like Arvind Kejriwal or supporting anti-corruption and anti-administration movements in huge numbers tells people are desperate now – after being shown mirages and ‘plane doors’ since 1947.
People elect them because they have to. They are short of alternatives. Arvind Kejriwal and AAP, though proved futile experiments, were seen as an alternative.
It is this ‘common perception’ about politicians that made not even a leave rustle when the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India rejected the NJAC Bill basing its judgement on the premise that it would again introduce political interference in the judicial appointments process.
Politicians from legislatures have their own logics and the courts have their own. The debate on the ‘judicial appointments process’ is yet to precipitate and is wide open – though it may not see any spark in the immediate run – in the prevailing political circumstances.
Arun Jaitley expressed his ‘personal outrage’ on the Supreme Court’s verdict through a Facebook post. He has used some tough words, “Having stated this, the majority transgresses into an erroneous logic. – The Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if the elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger. – The Supreme Court opinion is final. It is not infallible.”
Arun Jaitley is a senior lawyer, politician and minister and he has his own reasons to questions the NJAC verdict by the Supreme Court but he doesn’t need to go far to see the ‘reason’ why there were no pinning questions from activists, civil society organizations, columnists and even from the political class at large when the top court rejected the 99th Constitution Amendment and struck down the Bill to establish the ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission’.
It is in the same Facebook post only, though in a different context. He writes, “Politician bashing is the key to the judgement.” He further writes while explaining his reasoning, “..but to rubbish all other basic structures by referring to them as “politicians” and passing the judgement on a rationale that India’s democracy has to be saved from its elected representatives.”
Though Arun Jaitley has used terms like ‘politician bashing’ or the ‘statement’ above in the context of the Supreme Court’s NJAC verdict, the phenomenon is quite common among the masses. India is a land of countless public debates, propped up well by multitudes of ‘tea and paan’ stalls dotting every habitable inch of the country, public meetings and daily informal gatherings and ‘politics and politician bashing’ is the favourite theme at most of the places.
‘Politician bashing’ may or may not be behind the ‘rationale’ of the NJAC verdict by the Supreme Court but the ‘overall negative perception about the country’s political class’ was certainly the reason if the verdict didn’t see protests – and if politicians can, they need to think about this ‘negative image’ before anything.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/