UPA's ten days of misery

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Vyom, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Vyom

    Vyom Seeker Elite Member

    Dec 23, 2009
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    Justice A. K. Ganguly is all set to retire on February 2. You might turn around and ask: so what is the big deal? The significance of his retirement is not lost on anyone who has followed the 2G case and now the ongoing trial.

    The twin dynamos of Justice Ganguly and Justice G. S. Singhvi have proved to be the catalysts in the battle against graft. They are seen as symbols of the fight against corruption, for that matter even as the repositories of all the values that a democratic nation needs to uphold - transparency, fairness, ethicality, and top-of-the-line governance standards.

    The judgments that Justice Ganguly is ready to give before demitting office in tandem with Justice Singhvi that have the government in a complete bind. Many of these reserved judgments have the potential to destabilise the government as they target top-ranking functionaries and impact the already clouded investment climate adversely. Specific ministers may bear the brunt of the judicial attack. Petitioners like Subramanian Swamy and Prashant Bhushan would like to believe that the next 10 days may even determine the fate of the UPA-II dispensation.

    Last August, at a book release function in the Capital, Justice Ganguly was his usual forthright self when expounding on the subject of corruption.

    Justice Ganguly said: "Corruption is very deep rooted. In our society, a corrupt man is unfortunately offered a successful life. Let us accept this as the position. A corrupt man is not a social outcast. He is most of the time a hero, a leader. The law is called Prevention of Corruption Act. To my mind, I am not talking as a judge, it is apt to call it Preservation of Corruption Act. There is a very important provision in this Act. Unless there is a sanction you cannot proceed against the corrupt official. Who is to give this sanction to prosecute? It is said that if this protection is not given, the courts will be flooded with frivolous cases of corruption. So we are not being sincere in eliminating corruption."

    It offered a peep into the psyche of the judge, considered by many as a hero in this judicial war against corruption. As the executive and Parliament failed in their endeavour to provide governance, unable as they were to firewall the citizenry's lives against the rapidly cascading taint of graft, Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia and judges such as Ganguly and Singhvi were seen as the new purveyors of judicial overreach.

    The state of mind of the judiciary was in many ways a mirror image of the thought process of the common man. Now as Justice Ganguly exits the scene, crucial judgments need to be delivered. Top of the list is the cancellation of all the 121 licenses given out by the then telecom minister A. Raja to nine operators on January 10, 2008 (when letters of intent were first given) and subsequently the actual licensing programme that began with effect from February 27, 2008.

    The petition first filed by Bhushan under Article 32 of the Constitution was later joined with a similar petition by Swamy, who wanted the state to invalidate the licences and subsequently reauction the spectrum recovered from the operators. Just as the recent Vodafone tax case was a defining judgment in terms of impacting the country's investment climate, the invalidation of 'illegal' licenses can cause a global uproar on whether India is best suited to do business in, and with.

    The apex court had joined Swamy's intervening petition with Bhushan's and reserved this landmark judgment since early March 2011. Swamy had also asked for a modification of the rules regarding sanction in the Prevention of Corruption Act against individuals whom he reckons to be guilty. Another Swamy petition has the judgment reserved by the same bench. On November 4, 2010, the judgment was reserved once again.

    This time, Swamy petitioned over the failure to give a sanction for prosecution against Raja. The bulwark of his petition zeroes in on the PM's failure to move with alacrity against Raja's prosecution. Swamy believes that the PM 'delayed' the sanction even though the first FIR was lodged in October 2009 against unknown persons after raids were conducted at Sanchar Bhawan by the CBI.

    The Supreme Court was at its caustic best expressing its acute displeasure over the PM's delayed response to Swamy's application to the PMO for sanction to prosecute Raja. Swamy, however, filed an affidavit in the PM's favour and shifted the blame onto the law ministry and the PMO subsequently. Pertinently, the court may set guidelines for granting sanction for prosecution in such cases. It is argued that if and when these guidelines come, it will be a big step forward in fighting graft in the highest echelons of power.

    But the biggest judgment that has all eyes riveted on it is the one based on Swamy's petition on home minister P. Chidambaram. Swamy wants the CBI to probe Chidambaram's role as the finance minister during the time that the licences were doled out. He wants the home minister to be questioned. Just before Diwali, the two-judge division bench reserved its judgment in this case. Parallely, Swamy has managed to secure a reserved judgment in the trial court headed by Judge O. P. Saini. This judgment too will be revealed on February 4 and this seeks Chidambaram to be made co-accused in the 2G spectrum case, along with naming him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    Many in the legal fraternity believe that many of these cases prima facie are strong, but the consequences can be so severe that a discredited government fighting the joust of its life in the UP elections may receive body blow after body blow from the judiciary. From the Prime Minister to the Home Minister, to all those who were beneficiaries of Raja's largesse, the next 10 days could be extremely uneasy.

    UPA's ten days of misery : Sandeep Bamzai News - India Today
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

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