“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”- Thomas Jefferson
The truth pours out of the above mentioned quote. Jefferson had rightly (?) guessed that justice cannot be veiled for long. I’m not here to preach about justice or how the world (specifically India) needs it but to highlight the recent decision made by the Supreme Court transferring the ‘whether we shall probe Narendra Modi or suffer from his wrath’ agenda to the trail courts.
This piece of news came in the form of a blessing for the BJP’s nominated Prime Minister. He tweeted “God is great” to show his appreciation to the SC (or God as the tweet suggests). Why Mr.Modi is elated is asininely clear. The Supreme Court would no longer have a say in the cases related to the riots and the local courts would decide whether BJP’s poster boy will undergo an investigation regarding the Gulberg Society massacre of February 2002 . Let us look at some facts. Narendra Modi has been the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat. He must have some power over the people of Gujarat. His ideologies, it shows, are largely accepted. Giving the trial courts the power to decide, the SC has jeopardised the term ‘justice’. Victims will always fear that the judgement could be biased.
Secondly, no time-frame has been allotted to make the decision. It could be decades before the verdict is passed (and Mr.Modi would have lived a happy fulfilling life till then). Zakia Jafri, widow of the former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, is unhappy with the proceedings as the case has been tossed to the agencies which the sympathisers of the victims mistrust. The SIT – Special Investigative Team – appointed by the apex court, however, has not given a clean chit to the Gujarat chief minister. It might turn the tables for the man.
What does Mr.Modi have to hide? If he’s above suspicion, he should openly welcome the probe to clear his name. This will result in restoring the tarnished image of BJP and of Mr.Modi himself (He was denied the visa to the US as he has been accused of ethnic cleansing Gujarat). Only the guilty have a reason to lie and hide. Had appropriate measures been taken, the whole of Godhra riots could have been averted. The death toll would not have reached a 4-digit number and the harmony between the already tense Hindu-Muslim relationship would have stayed harmonious. Modi is a man who has himself asked for compulsory voting in his state to prove his grace among the people. He deems it to be the real test of his intentions. (Whether majority was intended to be gained through paths straight or through coercion remains unresolvable.) It is puzzling as to why a man who lays claim to citizens’ felicity and seems more than keen to establish it through the “open and clear” trial of compulsory voting remains reluctant to be as transparent in the trials that he has to “compulsorily” stand. In the wake of allegations by a Gujarat cadre IPS officer on being given personal instructions by Modi to obliterate people of a certain faith and the harassment harrowed on his IAS officer brother as revenge for the expose, it becomes all the more important for his trial to be decided by the highest independent judicial body of the country. The SC has the agency required to deal with such a high-profile case involving power-wielding names. Unnecessary delays in the delivery of justice will also be contained if the SC handles it given the supreme authority of the apex court over trial courts.
The allegations against the Gujarat state government are of a very grave nature. A government turning against its own people for some obscure reason, it is horrifying to even think of, let alone witness it first-hand. What the civilians went through during the past decade, we in the safety of our homes, cannot even begin to comprehend. What will satiate them now is justice. Whether the riots were pre-planned, a conspiracy by the government, or were purely accidental, fact remains that innocent people suffered and are continuing to do so.
No matter what the trial court verdict is, we are clearly going to see the case go all the way to the SC in due course, and the challenge now would be to fast-track this due process of trial court decisions and the appeal process.