The first lines of the Preamble to the Constitution of India have been immortalised in every school book and educational institution. Our childhood is full of memories of grudgingly opening our books to the flowery, often described as beautiful, portrayal of the document which celebrates our independence.
Many would argue that this is all it has been reduced to – for children to gawk at and scribble and doodle over. One could ask around and not many would remember the singular page from the days of school which assures every person their inalienable rights as citizens of India – Justice, Liberty and Equality – principles without which there would be little difference between present times and the days of the Raj or some feudal lordship from the Dark Ages of Europe.
These same “leaders”, elected by us, given the mandate by us and ruling us, make laws and debate issues in a manner which best suits them. Be it tainted politicians being allowed to stand for elections or foreign funds being accepted by political parties. The Right To Information is shown as proof of the government working for the people. Pleas to tweak the RTI to make it easier to deny the information sought or, worse still, make it expensive enough to be unpractical for most of the population.
Amidst this entire clamour, we now have some who would say the Supreme Court of India, the apex body of our judicial system, oversteps its scope by interfering in the day to day workings of the Legislative. Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Cabinet, pointed out to the Rajya Sabha “Step-by-step, brick-by-brick, the edifice of India’s legislature is being destroyed”. This came up in reference with the direction of the Supreme Court to set up a Disaster Mitigation Fund while at the same time financing the NDRF (National Disaster Relief Fund) and the SDRF (State Disaster Relief Fund).
Our country is fast approaching a critical moment in terms of how it goes forward. The various arms which govern and administrate our country must introspect the way the duties they have been entrusted with are carried out. The Legislature and the Executive, and the various allegations of corruption and petty politics they have brought on themselves, the judiciary and the snail pace of justice which the citizen of this country hopes for, and keeps on hoping for years on end. We, as a country and society, can no longer afford to continue functioning in the same manner of differing paper realities and ground realities.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar