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Issue:January' 2018


Purging rogues out of Parliament

Jagdish N Singh

Parliament of India All eyes are on the verdict to be declared later this month on our 17th Lok Sabha elections currently being held across the Republic. I do not know who all may win in this race. I am , however, not at all optimistic about the nature and character of the winners-to-be. The leaderships of almost all political parties seem to have fielded their candidates in the fray on the parochial considerations of their caste, creed or economic/star status. As such whoever wins is highly unlikely to contribute to ensuring what our country needs most – good governance, i.e., governance for all- inclusive harmony and development .
Regrettably, our E l e c t i o n Commission has miserably failed to do what it is supposed to.

Article 324 of our Constitution vests in it the powers of “superintendence, direction and control” to conduct free and fair elections in the country. The EC’s constitutional morality demands that, at the time of elections, it places before us a panel of right candidates, from whom we could choose and elect . The Commission has failed in this.

Besides, in the current election , the Commission has failed to comply with our Supreme Court’s September 2018 judgement related to the conditions for the candidates contesting elections . The judgement directs the candidates to publish in newspapers about pending criminal cases against them after they file their nomination papers. The Court directs our political parties to publish the criminal past of their candidates on their websites.

Last month, the Supreme Court also directed political parties to provide full information about their donors and the financial contributions made to them( parties) through electoral bonds in sealed cover to the Election Commission.

In the greater public interest, our apex Court must intervene and devise an appropriate mechanism to rein in the erring politicians and their leaders, in whichever party they may exist, and checkmate their entry into the upcoming 17th Parliament. It is unfortunate that our Parliament has in the recent decades turned into a rich people’s club. (https:// It is unfortunate that it has become a den of an increasing number of allegedly communal, casteist, and criminal elements. The Court must take all appropriate steps to arrest any further deterioration in the standard of our Parliament.

On their part, all enlightened citizens of India may approach the Court to order such directives as would leave no scope for any rogue elements to exist in our Parliament. We cannot afford to have any undesirable forces in this august House. They would pose a threat to all our cherished Republican valuesliberty, equality and justice.

B R Ambedkar Immediately after the ratification of our Constitution on November 26, 1949, the legendary B R Ambedkar rightly said : “ We are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we shall have equality, and in social and economic life we will have inequality. ... We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously, built up.” We must work for a Parliament of the justiceminded representatives. They alone can remove such contradictions.
Fortunately, approaching the Court in the larger public interest is not difficult today . The late Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati’s historic judgement makes it possible for us to write directly on a simple postcard to the Supreme Court and seek a constitutional court’s jurisdiction for justice. I think we must not fail to approach our apex Court . Nothing today is as much a matter of public interest as purging rogues out of our Parliament, our democracy’s highest temple.

Treason an anti-people act

Supreme Court of India Our Supreme Court deserves deep applause of all liberal progressive forces across the country for having dismissed the Centre’s plea to declare the Rafale jets’ purchase documents a secret. The Court’s approach herein is absolutely in tune with the essence and spirit of our Republic and Constitution. In a democracy, sovereignty rests in the people , not in the government. The government is just a set of people’s employees assigned to function in the manner their master/ citizens wish them to.
T h e government in o u r d e m o c r a c y can use the public purse in the public interest only and must account for it . If the g o v e r n m e n t ever evades this basic obligation, the media must expose it . This makes all media papers published in the Rafale aircraft purchase case highly relevant. The Court must examine them, determine the truth and transparency in the whole matter and bring it in the public domain for better governance in the future.

Pertinently, governments in all democracies must cease to interpret the laws governing the state secrets in the manner of the feudal and colonial rulers. Legally speaking , treason is an act against the interest of the sovereign. In democracy people are the sovereign. Treason herein is an act detrimental to the public interest alone . Whoever acts against the public interest commits treason.

The government in a democracy is not the sole custodian of the public/state interest. There are many shareholders, including the media and civil society groups, to this trust of public interest. No government can be allowed to act against the public interest and shield itself with any archaic , monarchicalcolonial laws.

Ironically, governments in almost all democracies still cling to some or the other archaic laws to silence those who dare to expose them when they act against the public interest. The way WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being treated today in the United Kingdom, the socalled mother of democracy , is a case in point. The British police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11 last following E c u a d o r President Lenín M o r e n o ’ s withdrawal of his country’s grant of asylum to him.

WikiLeaks founder
Julian Assange
Chelsea Manning Knowledgeable sources say efforts are now afoot for his extradition to the United States to face trial over some of the secret US government information he has leaked in the past. Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for WikiLeaks’ role in publishing their government secrets.
The Justice Department has charged him with taking part in a computer hacking c o n s p i r a c y , accusing him of scheming with Chelsea Manning, a former Army i n t e l l i g e n c e analyst.

The sources say the WikiLeaks documents reveal how certain governments in democracies have acted against the public interest. The important documents leaked by Assange include the controversial emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, the dumping of chemical waste in Ivory Coast, U.S. helicopter attacks on Iraqi civilians etc.