Who lives if India dies?

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Who lives if India dies?

Some of the recent incidents portend the ominous at worst and are certainly undesirable at best. The Bharat Bandh in protest against the Supreme Court judgement related to the SC/ST act that resulted in large scale violence is a case in point. The ire against the judgement was based on the flimsiest of the grounds that the provisions of the SC/ST Act were diluted. There cannot be a bigger misconception than this. The fact is that the law has been kept intact. Only some genuine modifications in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice have been suggested. And rightly so. After all, no one can be pronounced guilty until proved. The basic premise on which any democracy rests is the rule of law. And the institution that is responsible for maintaining this rule of law is the higher judiciary. If this institution is undermined a democracy will gradually degenerate into mobocracy and ultimately anarchy. The call for Bharat Bandh was an act of undermining this all important institution of higher judiciary. History stands witness to the fact that the Supreme Court has shouldered its responsibility of ensuring the rule of law and protecting the citizens against whimsicalities of the Executive well. It has withstood the tests of time as the Golaknath or the Keshavanand Bharati, or the Maneka Gandhi cases prove. It is time the rule of law is emphasised.  It will be prudent to underscore the essential principle of the rule of law that states that the relationship between the State and its citizens must be a relationship that is regulated by the law. In fact the latest Supreme Court verdict about which so much noise is being made was the much needed course correction rather than a dilution. If India needs to prove itself as a mature democracy there is need for greater respect to the institution of Judiciary. Though all institutions are manned by human beings and their liability to err may not be ruled out, yet in the long run it pays to protect the sanctity of the institution. If institutions are browbeaten by popular political protests it is the very system of democracy that is threatened. The emergence of various sections of the society as symbols of ethnic or religious assertion and identity strike at the very edifice of the democratic nation state for which the rule of law is an essential element. The past few decades have seen an increasing competitiveness in Indian politics leading to the rise of fissiparous tendencies to dangerous proportions. The doctrine of rule of law is the very soul of Indian constitution and the Supreme Court the guardian of that constitution. If we start succumbing to unreasonable popular protests we may soon end up becoming a rule by the crowd than by the law. Human Beings are anarchic by nature and it is the rule of law that restrains them. Justice through the rule of law is a constitutional guarantee that cannot be ensured unless power is given to Judiciary and it is left independent and objective. This was the reason why the founding fathers carved out the constitution with clear cut separation of powers and made the judiciary the final arbiter. Some sections of the society are trying to fish in troubled waters for petty political gains. They need to understand that in order to succeed in achieving their political ambitions they need the country first. After all who lives if India dies.

Pathak is a professor of management, writer, and an acclaimed public speaker. He can be reached at ppathak.ism@gmail.com

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