Foggy Times

by Sunil dang, Editor-in-Chief

These have been turbulent times for the independence & sovereignty of our decades old institutional mechanism, towering over principles of justice, equality &opportunity. In the most undesired concoction of political shenanigans & judicial intervention, shadowy misrepresentations or a conceited ploy, we could feel the great pain; witness a sad saga, encompassing probity & propriety, so essential to public life & conduct. One such example of populist pandering is the recommendation to the country’s highest court of junior judges that is seriously questionable of the collegiums’ system of appointments. The nation can’t afford a situation where merit & seniority are no longer sacrosanct for rising to the highest seat in the highest court of our land.

The other questionable decision has been the unceremonious showing of the door to CBI chief AlokVerma. This matter has snowballed into a major controversy involving the Government, CVC, SC & the selection panel. Sad to see the damage, it has caused to the reputation & integrity of the country’s premier investigating agency that saw an unprecedented showdown between its two top officers at the helm. The collateral damage of such highhandedness, shown by those involved in the episode has been in the form of Justice A.K. Sikri spurning the Govt. offer of representing India at the Commonwealth arbitral Tribunal.No verbal wizardry would justify the masked guile leading to important adjudications, nor would the undue haste & alacrity shown by powers to be, insulate them from accountability to public at large.

Under the circumstances, it is incumbent on those involved to restore the credibility of all such institutions that have been at the receiving end of unabashedly intrusive government machinery. Appointing the CBI chief must lead this redemption exercise. Pained by the ongoing developments, Justice Kailash Gambhir (retd),has in a strongly worded letter to the Hon’ble President of India, expressed his deep dismay at the manner in which the issue of appointments has been handled by the Collegium.He has very pertinently brought out the example of propriety & independent thinking by late Justice H R Khanna(Justice Sanjeev Khanna happens to be his nephew) when he gave his sole dissenting note in a majority 4:1 judgement, upholding suspension of rights during emergency era. And when he was superseded by Justice M.H. Beg to the post of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Khanna had promptly resigned in an exemplary demonstration of self-respect & morality. Shall Justice Sanjeev Khanna set a moral equivalent of what his legendary uncle did decades ago? That could be a mighty tribute to his illustrious uncle & his ideals.

On the international front,two of the most powerful economies, The Great Britain & China are facing the heat, both on the domestic & international front. While Brexit has hung around Theresa May like an Albatross, China is facing strong opposition & resentment by its allies in CPEC & OBOR projects. There is a growing chorus amongst Brits about their country losing because of the deal & their economy facing a severe challenge, Pakistan has cited great inconvenience to its fledgling finances on account of an unwanted power project, supposedly developed by China. Both the issues point to an inherent lack of conviction & Grave economic repercussionsfor their respective nations.

Back home, I suspect the SP – BSP alliance has more to do with serious regional compulsions than their differences with Congress. In a highly demanding election, all parties have resorted to pandering to their core vote bank & there is even greater possibility of the local outfits’ stealing a march over larger ones at the hustings. Hence the Jagans, KCRs, Mamtas, Stalins would have ample manoeuvring power post elections, something they would like to leverage while negotiating their support for the either of the NDA or UPA.While BJP no more seems a natural choice, having shed most of its sheen on the back of unfulfilled promises like RamJanambhoomi, Article 370, Jobs etc; UPA & congress are emerging as more attractive canvas for these smaller yet significant partners to piggyback along.

On the more critical economic front, while the government seems to be assuring us on reserves & adequate liquidity, there seems to be no attempt at retrieving Air India from the recess, it has slipped into or a pro-active role to oversee a revamp plan by the fledgling Jet airways. Let’s wait & watch, how the vote on account would reflect on such issues.
In the meanwhile, we wish you a very Happy Republic day.

Jai Ho!