Some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs are in jail. Some are out on bail. Some are in the imminent threat of being put behind bars.
If the law is catching up with them, it means they would have committed some criminal activities.
Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. So the law is bound to catch up with them, or in fact everyone who is found on the wrong side of it, irrespective of affiliations and influences.
But is it so black and white?
We all know it isn’t so. We know our legal system has taken different reincarnations based on affiliation and patronage and its most brazen consequences are seen in our policing and criminal investigation systems.
That is why our premier investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has been called a “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court.
That is why the courts don’t believe in the testimony recorded before the police and prefer the one delivered in the courtroom. That is why terms like “police reforms” or “CBI independence” have become so debatable that we don’t know if they will have logical conclusions at all.
The hunger for power and the penchant to stick to that power make our policing and criminal investigation systems mere pawns in the hands of those who form the government.
These pawns are used at will – to promote one’s interests, or to settle scores, or to rein in elements that make noise or pose threats. Yes, some form of honest policing is still there but it is limited to policing the common man where no one is interested to intervene.
The trouble that the AAP leaders are in is a case in point.
Some AAP MLAs like Mahendra Yadav and Akhilesh Tripathi were arrested on charges including rioting and preventing public servants from discharging duties.
BJP’s Faggan Singh Kulaste, who has been made a Union minister in the latest Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also been accused of rioting, armed with deadly weapons, wrongful restraint and many others (including charges related to obscene acts), an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) finds. The ADR analysis is based on his latest self-sworn affidavit.
Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das who belongs to the BJP is also accused of preventing public servants from discharging duties and wrongful restraint. The ADR analysis of his self-sworn affidavit shows a total of eight cases registered against him including under two sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deal with serious offences.
AAP MLA Manoj Kumar was arrested in a land grabbing case and was later released on bail. He was slapped with sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC.
BJP’s Naba Kumar Doley, who is the panchayat and rural development minister of Assam, has allegations under three IPC sections that deal with serious offences against him, the ADR analysis says. Charges against him include “making a false document (IPC section 464)”, “charge related to forgery (IPC section 463)”, “charges related to giving and fabricating false evidence (IPC sections 191, 192, 193) and so on.
Haryana’s animal husbandry minister Om Prakash Dhankar has declared in his affidavit that he is facing charges under section 147 (charges related to rioting) and section 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC among others.
Former minister in the Maharashtra Cabinet, Eknath Khadse of the BJP, who was forced to resign in the Dawood Ibrahim call case and was later given a clean chit, had declared charges under IPC sections dealing with serious offences like section 354 (charge related to assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty) among others in his self-sworn affidavit.
AAP Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan was recently arrested under the IPC sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). Later, section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the IPC was also added. The judge, while releasing Khan on bail, said that keeping him in jail would not serve any purpose and that Khan was not needed for investigation.
Former Union minister of state of panchayati raj, Nihal Chand Meghwal, who is a BJP MP from Rajasthan and who was dropped in the latest round of Cabinet reshuffle, is accused in a rape case. Though Meghwal was given a clean chit earlier and the courts refused to entertain the woman’s plea, later the same was admitted and is being heard by an ADJ court.
They all are free men, in spite of the serious charges against them. And they are just few names from a long list spread across parties and states in the federation of India.
So it is still basically about which side of the law you are but with a distorted paradigm to it – whether you are in power or you are in Opposition.
If you are from the establishment or from the party in power, you are clearly treated above the law. On the contrary, if you are from the Opposition benches and in the cross hairs of the ruling party, you are likely to be made an example by the law enforcement agencies – of their swiftness and efficiency.