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Happy Dussehra and Diwali to all Readers.          October 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Judiciary must be above all

Jagdish N Singh

Vijaya K. Tahilramani I n a liberal democratic state , the functioning of all sources of authority— executive, legislative or judicial -- has to be reasonable and transparent. In a democracy, all decisions must seem to be fair too for the sake of the crucial , positive public perception about the very system of governance . Regrettably, our Supreme Court collegium does not seem to have cared much for this principle in the case of the recent transfer of Chief Justice Vijaya K. Tahilramani from the Madras High Court.
Knowledgeable sources say our judiciary must be above all suspicion . The Tahilramani case points to 'opaqueness' on the part of our collegium. The collegium consisting of our Chief Justice and four senior-most judges is supposed to exercise its power to select, appoint and transfer judges in “the public interest and for better administration of justice.” Tahilramani entered our superior judiciary way back in 2001. She had three stints as acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. As Justice in the Bombay Court, she delivered the historic judgment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case. Afterwards, she was appointed Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

In the Madras High Court she presided over 75 judges and administered a subordinate judiciary in 32 districts in addition to the Union Territory of Puducherry. She should not have been transferred to a much smaller Meghalaya High Court. The Meghalaya Court has only three judges and a subordinate judiciary in just seven districts.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi could have handled this case in a better way. The Memorandum of Procedure relating to appointments and transfers of High Court judges clearly says the opinion of the Chief Justice of India in this regard is “determinative” . The CJI needs to take into account only “the views of one or more knowledgeable Supreme Court Judges.

The good news is the Supreme Court asserted the other day the Collegium had cogent reasons in the case and it would reveal them , if necessary.

Time for effective diplomacy

In her opening remarks at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 42nd Regular Session in Geneva on September 9, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called upon India to end the lockdown imposed in Kashmir since August 5 when New Delhi ended the special status for the state. Speaking at the session, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the UNHRC should ensure “justice and respect” for the people of Kashmir.

I wonder if Bachelet has taken cognizance of how difficult it is to restore total normalcy in the region in a situation created by the successive political leaderships and Islamist forces over the last seven decades. According to reports, Jammu and Kashmir's Civil Administration is already doing its best to ensure basic services, essential supplies connectivity. Measures are being taken to ensure gender justice . Besides, India has free media and vibrant civil society to defend human rights.

As for Qureshi’s utterances on human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, they are absolutely ludicrous. Knowledgeable sources say Islamabad denies basis rights to its various communities in its own territory. Pakistan has stopped publishing official numbers of various religious and ethnic groups that are facing “elimination” inside the country.

Besides, Islamabad is one of the root causes of the present scenario in J &K. Pakistan is the epicentre of global terrorism. It has been abetting, financing, and supporting terrorism against India.

S Jayashankar The sources suggest our External Affairs Minister S Jayashankar must make India’s diplomacy effective. New Delhi would do well to canvas hard at the United Nations General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, European Parliament and the US Congress on Kashmir in the coming days. New Delhi could invent ways to counter the propaganda unleashed against India since August 5 by certain groups based in the United States.
On August 9, in New York several groups came out to raise their voice against the scrapping of J &K’s special status . They included the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA). MAS is the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood . ICNA is the American branch of the South Asia- based Jamaat-eIslami (JI) already banned by India.

On August 16, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) held rally for Kashmir in front of the Indian embassy in Washington. The rally was cosponsored by ICNA and MAS, along with the extremist mosque Dar al – Hijrah and the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC). TASC coordinates closely with regime figures from the authoritarian Turkish government.

Other protests have been attended by Islamist groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee." CAIR receives much of its funds from the government of Qatar. Qatari propaganda organs Al Jazeera and Middle-East Eye have been relentlessly opposed to the Kashmir takeover.

Will Modi talk CoK with Xi ?

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping New Delhi has done well to declare that after annulling the special status of J &K it would now focus its efforts on getting back Pakoccupied Kashmir. One hopes Prime Minister Narendra Modi would raise the issue of Chinaoccupied Kashmir as well when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram for their second informal summit on October 11 and 13. India must do justice to the whole of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) that had been integrated into India as part of the Instruments of Accession then Maharaja of J&K Hari Singh had signed with New Delhi.

According to an authentic study, India today holds just 45 per cent of that territory; Pakistan controls 35 per cent ; and China occupies 20 per cent. China occupied Ladakh’s Aksai Chin plateau; and in 1963, Pakistan ceded to it a segment of its occupied territory in the region. China has thousands of its troops in the Pakistani-held part of J&K. It controls its own section of J&K.