How can we assess and evaluate the maintenance and functioning of any democracy around believing it to be just and representative of people’s faith and belief under any given situation and circumstances? For the efficient and effective conduct of democracy, it is but important to have a distinct set of opinions, ideas and viewpoints for it to offer us a sharp and critical insight into the performance of democracy.
Democracies, where the dissenting voices of the people are crushed nailed, doubted and suppressed can never qualify to be healthy; at best, they are symptomatic of being caged and quarantined denying the existence of basic civil rights to its citizens.
Recently, in Beirut and Belarus, thousands of ordinary citizens marched on the streets demanding better civic guarantees from the state by calling for extraordinary measures to overhaul the systems of political and administrative controls. Calling for sustained and systematic reforms impacting and influencing the presence and participation of the laities in the spheres of policy-making and legislative implementation assigning and instilling a sense of responsibility and pride.
The spread of Corona pandemic has purposively boosted the calibre and capacity of the state viz physical prowess and coercive control demanding meek submission, loyalty and obedience under a farce of insular and exclusionary nationalism, resulting in abuse and violation of all kinds of rights and freedoms. Alarming a disquiet and dissatisfaction amongst the vast stretch of the population, irrespective of the size and geography, as the very basis of our individual existence has been put under strict surveillance constantly reminding us of our rank and position in the material hierarchy.
Authoritarianism and autocracy have been intertwined as principles of populism, perception building and rhetorics in securing and safeguarding the interests and objectives of the dominant ruling cliques under any given political order. India is no exception either where the robustness of the democracy has long been altered and compromised to the ideological whims and fancies of the ruling dispensation tossing and tailing the rights and liberties of the ordinary serving citizens with the administrations of control being personalized.
Judiciary has and continues to suffer from the shock and setback making arrangements and adjustments in the fairness of justice delivery as courts are considered to be the last bastions defending the constitutional privileges of any legitimate citizen of the country. I, remember how in January 2018 four senior-most judges of Supreme Court including former Chief Justice of India had aired their reservations on the setting of the hearing benches in the court and how it was tantamount to the health and practice of democracy.
Late Arun Jaitely had once said in the Parliament how post-retirement benefits play a lead in the court rulings and judgements by the topmost judges of High Court and Supreme Court. Maybe, if we were to go by the merits of Mr Jaitely’s arguments than we will be able, to sum up, the contempt of court proceedings against eminent lawyer and human rights activist Shri Prashant Bhushan.
The latter was charged with offensive tweets against the current sitting Chief Justice of India Shri Sharad Arvind Bobde who was seen riding a fancy sportbike in Nagpur belonging to a local BJP leader, as per Mr Bhushan’s tweet. Was the apex court forced to take up this matter?
I don’t understand the urgency as this was purely Mr Bhushan’s personal opinion and reflections. How does it at all denigrates the office and institution of Chief Justice of India and if it does, then why the action in the earlier instances of said opinions and statements against the performance of judiciary was not undertaken and for what reasons. Although, Prashant Bhushan should have been a bit careful with his choice and selection of words, what kind of disrepute and disobedience has it brought in that the Supreme Court swung into action asking Mr Bhushan to respond for his actions by initiating contempt proceedings?
Mr Bhushan is a responsible and sensible person and is acutely familiar with what invites contempt in the first place and, hence, the court should have cast another look into its actions and decisions before arriving at any inference. This kind of hurry and haste in Prashant Bhushan’s matter has really made the perception of the Supreme Court tinier in the eyes of the law-abiding citizens. This is so because the court has been made to call it a draw after Bhushan has made his intentions loud and clear by remaining unapologetic with what he said and did.
Considerably, he has been receiving huge rounds of admiration and appreciation from people all around as democracies can never be strengthened by mellowing down dissent. We will have to understand and acknowledge this fact if we want to stay relevant as a distinguished Republic.