By Arun Srivastava
Majoritarian’ propensities have completely riveted the Indian politics and its social order. This majoritarian principle has not only vitiated the political structure, instead it has also affected the judiciary; the bureaucracy is already dancing to its tunes. Stimulating majoritarian is the part of the well designed strategy to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra.
A week back the Chief Justice of India N V Ramana while presiding over a three judge bench rued; “It’s a new trend started. Government has started maligning the judges. It’s unfortunate. This is a “new trend” of government maligning…judges”. While describing it as ‘unfortunate” he said “We are watching in court also. Nowadays it’s a new trend. Earlier we used to see private parties with this type of tactics. We are watching everyday”.
The bench was hearing appeals against an order of the Chhattisgarh High Court which had quashed an FIR lodged under the Prevention of Corruption Act against former Chief Minister Raman Singh’s Principal Secretary Aman Singh and his wife Yasmin Singh in 2020, after the BJP government was voted out and Congress party came to power in the state.
The judiciary, especially the Supreme Court has been the last hope of the people to get justice. The Modi government is sure that once the prestige of the judiciary is lowered and jeopardised, the people will not go to the court for seeking redressal. With an agile judiciary, it would be a tough proposition foe the government to smash the human rights.
The fact of the matter is it is the functionaries of the judiciaries, especially the judges who are responsible for the degradation of the judiciary and maligning of the judges. An insight into the nature of the justice delivery would make it apparent that the judges of the lower courts, even in some cases of the High Courts, do not apply their mind before pronouncing verdict. Of late the small time BJP or RSS cadres have formed the habit of filing complaints against their opponents. Even though the charges are unsustainable and false, the judges pass the sentence and send the person to the jails. We have seen how a judge has been openly sitting on the bench has been eulogising the prime minister.
There are number of cases in which the accused persons have been languishing in jails though the police has miserably failed to prove their guilty and crime. Let us look at the case of student activist Umar Khalid. He has been repeatedly refused bail in the larger conspiracy case of northeast Delhi riots. The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked whether it was proper to use the term ‘jumla’ in respect to the Prime Minister of India and said that there has to be “a line” or a “Lakshmanrekha” when it comes to criticism of the government.
The judge would not like any one to criticise the government. It is not that he was the first to use the word jumla for Modi. His advocate rightly pointed out that it was not illegal to criticise the government. “Criticism of the government cannot become a crime. 583 days in prison with UAPA charges was no envisaged for a person who speaks against the government. We cannot become so intolerant. At this rate, people will not be able to speak”. The fact of the matter is the FIR against Khalid is a result of intolerance against freedom of speech.
The court had made the observation when the counsel representing Khalid was reading the portion where he is reported to have said that Mahatma Gandhi had launched a non-cooperation movement against the British in 1920 and Jamia Millia Islamia University was one of the first educational institutes to be established after Gandhi’s call. Khalid in the speech is further stated to have said that the same varsity was now facing bullets, being maligned and called den of anti-nationals.
This nature of observation turns the judges an object of ridicule in the eyes of the government and rulers. We have seen how a former CJI of Supreme Court helped the government in the matter of Ram Mandir. Using the word Jumla is not such a crime that he should have to spend years in the prison.
We have before us the Bhima Koregaon case. Father Stan Swamy’s death in judicial custody will forever remain a stain on India’s human rights record. Swamy was jailed last October on “fabricated terrorism charges”, and had been subjected to “harassment” and “repeated interrogations”, A renowned human rights and social justice advocate for over four decades, Swamy passed away on July 5 at a private hospital in Mumbai, awaiting his bail on medical grounds. Swamy’s case should remind all states that human rights defenders and all those detained without sufficient legal basis, should be released.
It is worth mentioning that all the so called accused persons in Bhima Koregaon case were falsely framed by the investigating agencies. They do not have substantial proof against them, but they continue to be in prison for years. Jesuit priest Stan Swamy’s custody death was a “failure” on the part of India’s government and would “forever remain a stain” on the country’s human rights record, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has said.
The RSS and Modi government have been imprisoning people on false ground those who are opposed to rightist forces and ideologies. The RSS and Modi are scared that in cse these people are not punished then the forces opposed to right ideology would emerge in a strong manner endangering their existence.
It is a known fact that the RSS and the Modi government, in association with the larger Hindu nationalist ecosystem, has been hell bent to change the fundamental tenets of Indian democracy ever since it came to power about eight years ago. But in recent months it has hastened the process. Earlier their target has been the Muslims. They wanted to terrorise Muslims resorting to various manoeuvres. But now they have started terrorizing liberal Hin
The design of the RSS and BJP got exposed this year on the occasion of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti. A large number of bloody clashes were witnessed across the India. While the intellectuals, ex army personnel and opposition leaders have been quick to condemn this and question the government’s passive attitude, Modi refrained from speaking out his mind. In most of the cases the Muslim community were targeted by the followers of the RSS and Modi government.
It is a brazen fact that Muslims are being systematically marginalized across the India, particularly in the BJP-governed states. Only the non BJP state are putting a protest against this policy of Modi government and the RSS. But in turn they are being victimised by Modi government.
Only recently the union state home minister told the Lok Sabha that according to the NCRB data, around 3400 cases of communal riots were registered in the country from 2016 to 2020. Besides 1, 61,117 cases of torture against the SC and ST wee registered from 2018 to 2020. He said around 857 cases of religious violence were registered in 2020. After Modi coming to power tere has been substantial increase in such cases. The number of cases was 438 in 2019, 512 in 2018, 723 in 2017, 860 in 2016. The figures say that 2,76,273 riot took place during the last five years.
Since the Supreme Court is concerned of the maligning of judges by the government, it must assert. It must initiate the process of rectification. It must remind the judges not to play into the hands of the politicians and government. They must follow the Constitutions and on the plea of applying their mind, they must refrain from twisting the facts. (IPA Service)