Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Victims of Darkness

As the new Government in India, which had been elected so that policy paralysis can be removed and decisive action can be taken on various fronts is going about its task in full gun. The problem however seem to be is that decisive verdict given to the government seem to have been construed as handing over of power to take any decision. What is visible is very little attention to issues that go beyond the acts of government: governance, participation and protection of the vulnerable. With rise in political and gender violence across the country there has not been any credible action on that front. Several commissions have been removed or members asked to resign; but not much of alternative has been suggested. And recently, the expected judicial reforms has been hit by a plan to create judicial commissions with judiciary powers, and to be placed under the law ministry (thus curtailing the fundamentals of independence of judiciary). As this has been called into question, the Chief Justice of India has questioned the intentions based on which such decisions are being taken, as there is no supervisory control over such bodies, and thereby the perpetrator is often the supervisor. As a Tamil saying goes, it is the story of the fence eating up the crop.

In that context, the Chief Justice has quoted William O'Douglas, the longest serving judge in the US Supreme Court, "As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness".

Vigilance to protect one's own freedom is essential, or we could soon have a honored form of the mid-seventies, when personal freedom was robbed of us from many fronts. This Prime Minister is for "less of government, more of governance". But the actions of the government seem to speak otherwise. The recent guidelines to the Secretaries (To Do List) is one step on the right direction.

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