By Sushil Kutty
Before the year is out there will be more than one troubling contretemp for the Bharatiya Janata Party. For the Supreme Court, and for the Modi government, too. Both are in the middle of a war over the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and his two election commissioners. The Supreme Court says that the Centre can no longer be the sole arbiter.
The Supreme Court has gone ahead and divested the Centre of the prerogative! But what if the Centre does not agree to implement the apex court order? Will the Centre challenge the judiciary and insist that the courts cannot be higher than “We the People”? India is run by the Constitution, and the statute book is clear on the separation of power.
Fact of the matter is, it does not matter how cloistered the minds of the ‘Milords’ are, the Supreme Court is behaving like the “Brahmins” of yore who interpreted the scriptures!
One view says the five-judge constitution bench overshot its judicial outreach, which calls for just desserts! Point is, in a grouping of three, how can the CJI be more equal than the PM and the LoP? Is it his Harvard education?
On March 2, the top court ruled that the troika of election commissioners will be selected by a committee comprising the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India. And whenever there are contretemps, the CJI will break the logjam?
But expecting the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to even agree to disagree is asking for too much. The Prime Minister represents the victorious side, and the LoP cannot forget his side lost. So, why would the two be on the same page?
Which leaves the Chief Justice of India in a privileged place. The reality is, this whole thing about the “independence of the judiciary” is a hoax. The judiciary is as biased as a cow to its calf. Can Rahul Gandhi, supposing he becomes LoP, be on the same page with Narendra Modi? Unthinkable. The two are diametrically opposites with different ideologies?
And why should the CJI appoint himself to the committee, will he be any less or any more independent and free and fair than the Prime Minister and the LoP? The CJI cannot be any less compromised or any more calculative than the Prime Minister of India.
And the LoP? The LoP represents the ‘defeated’. The Prime Minister speaks for the victorious. Both cannot be given the same weightage. The five-judge bench should have applied its mind before coming up with this harebrained solution.
The reality is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and democracy doesn’t gel, and the Supreme Court has played ‘first among equals’. What’s the guarantee that whenever there’s a dispute on a decision to settle, the LoP and the CJI wouldn’t get together to stymie the Prime Minister of India, does not matter which party is ruling at the Centre?
Narendra Modi cannot be Prime Minister forever. That said, there would be countless judicial coups whenever Prime Minister Narendra Modi refuses to fall in line with the combined decision of the LoP and the CJI? As of March 2, 2023, the buck stopped at Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud’s door.
And if it hasn’t dawned on anybody yet, the current CEC and the one before him have both been rendered illegal appointments after this SC ruling. Also, both the 2014 and the 2019 general elections were fraud elections because they were overseen by a CEC wrongly appointed by Narendra Modi, the faux Prime Minister of India since 2014.
The fact as it stands today is that for nearly a decade there has been an illegally appointed Chief Election Commissioner conducting elections that ensured that an illegitimate Prime Minister took charge of India?
Come to think of it, the 16th and 17th Lok Sabhas were illegal and the Supreme Court of India should forthwith dismiss Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his entire Cabinet.
What galls the BJP is the thought that CJI Chandrachud has opened the door to Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi to become Leader of Opposition. Rahul will become equal partner in the 3-member committee. At par with the Prime Minister of India, in deciding who will run the world’s largest democracy! Rahul Gandhi could, if he wants, stymie Narendra Modi to the extent that Modi’s writ is stultified and rendered beyond repair.
With its CEC verdict, the Supreme Court has put Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government on notice. If elections are held under the eye of a truly autonomous Election Commission headed by an equally independent CEC, the results might be startling. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Prime Minister has been challenged and that is tantamount to an ultimatum, the chickens are coming home to roost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (IPA Service)