These days, I come across a lot of articles which say that the Indian democracy is in danger. Recently, a new incident was added to the list – the press conference by four senior Supreme Court judges. Apparently, they had some grievances which were not taken into consideration by the concerned authorities.
Now, I am not a professional writer, a lawyer or any intellectual. I am writing this just to get answers to some of the questions that came to my mind, when I saw the conference and read the letter.
Even without going into the details of injustice done to them, a question comes to my mind. What were the four senior, experienced judges trying to achieve through a press conference? Now, I am not complaining – I am also not saying if they should have done or not done this. After all, we live in the world’s largest democracy – and they have a right to do what they want to.
I am just trying to understand what a responsible citizen should do now. Since I now know what is what, should I go ahead, find like-minded people and start a protest? Damage the national property?
Do the judges have more faith in media trials than in court trials?
After going through some of the concerns raised, a second question pops up in my mind, which, in my opinion, is scarier than the one mentioned above. If the issues raised have all been influenced by the government, then there is a serious issue indeed. If the BJP, which has been in power for less than four years, can do such a thing, then what has the Congress, which had been in power for several decades after independence, done? Were the people of the world’s largest democracy living in a fool’s paradise all these years – thinking that they have a strong and a fair judicial system? However, once the power changed hands, the invisible flaws and loopholes became visible.
Indians have always had a lot of talent and potential – but many countries, which got independence after India, are doing way better than India in terms of the human development index (HDI). If we have a functional democracy, it’s only natural that good, feasible ideas should make their way to the top. But instead, the talent has funneled out to other countries and is flourishing there.
In my eyes, this all makes sense now. The ones who are highly corrupt (and have strong political clout) have always won their battles and have created an environment conducive to the likes of themselves.
One issue mentioned in the letter – the selective assignment of cases to ‘the preferred benches‘ by the Chief Justice – has far reaching consequences for the nation. For a layman, who is not familiar with the details of the judiciary, it looks to be more of a question regarding the ethics and the integrity of the judges, rather than the administration of the court. How can two different benches give two different decisions for the same case? If assigning the judges can alter the result, then what is the authenticity of any verdict given by the court?
Now, since we all know that there is some problem in our judicial system, I have one last question: “Can this ever be fixed?” It is not that there is a scarcity of good leaders, social activists, intellectuals and so on. But, will they be able to change anything following the rules? Moreover, even if somebody succeeds in changing a particular thing, how will we know if it is not politically- motivated, or is good for someone in particular but isn’t good for the nation? To me, it seems like every single thing has political connections nowadays.
Indeed there is some kind of threat or danger – but to what or whom? Certainly, the threat isn’t directed to the Indian democracy because it has been there since the independence with the same set of rules. In my opinion, it has even improved over the years. The people of India cast their votes – and they can say whatever they want to say or show whatever they want to, in order to make big bucks. Then, how is democracy under threat?
To me, the only thing under threat or danger of extinction is the ability to think and ask the right questions. ‘They’ want everyone to ask some questions about some issues. Now, some people are blaming or criticising them, while the others are supporting or appreciating them. However, these people have not said anything beyond the questions they raised. This should not be it!
We have to ask questions – and of course, the right ones. The type of questions we ask will decide how good our nation performs.