What a peach
December 18, 2009 Leave a comment
Disclaimer : I am about to tread on the thin ice of discussing ‘impeachment’. Hence I clarify that my views are personal and generic in nature. Any reference to an ongoing impeachment request is only in the context of discussing the procedural wrangles and should not be construed as expressing an opinion on the request or on the subject matter.
The three corner stones of Indian Governance are the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive. The founding fathers of our Constitution were men of great vision, intellect and impeachable (no pun intended !) integrity that they realized the importance of these three wings in delivering governance to the citizens of the country.
They also recognized the need for each of these wings to have their independence while retaining interdependence to execute their roles. The interdependence is obviously not designed only to help but to also intervene in the event of something being apparently wrong (‘suo motu’ observations of the Court for example) or override a decision (‘mercy petitions’) in the interest of governance or justice.
Where the founding fathers of constitution could not be clairvoyant (not their fault !) is in expecting the quality of those who would come to occupy the highest positions of these temples of democracy. They had built such near-impregnable firewalls in the process of ‘pulling up’ one another that unwittingly it has proven to be defeating the basic objective of delivering governance.
The demand to impeach a sitting High Court Chief Justice on the backdrop of his elevation to Supreme Court made me to understand the process of impeachment. The process is explained in some detail in this [URL] blog http://indialawyers.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/the-law-on-impeachment-of-judges/[/URL]
There was this interesting bit of news in the blog concerning the ‘track record’ of impeachment of judges in India. India till date has never impeached a sitting judge.
Is this a reflection of the quality of the judiciary or the impossibility of actually going through the process ?
It is a very difficult call.
Now for those of who you may be tempted to think that I am overdoing this bit about “impossibility of impeachment” consider this :
The entire process of impeachment has to be completed “within a single session of the House”. That is to say the House cannot determine the suitability of the case in say Summer Session, debate it in the Monsoon session and go on a vote in the Winter Session. And if the process is not complete in one Session, then all the steps have to be repeated all over again.
With such stringent procedural requirements, can we ever hope that the House would take up a case for impeachment ?
Especially if one would think that the House isn’t exactly a league of “extraordinary gentlemen”. The House houses members who have been accused of scams ranging from fodder to radio frequency that it would just be a case of the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ if it ever come to it.
The maxim ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ is proven time and again in the world’s largest democracy India. I often wonder about the pusillanimous attitude of Indian Governance in even handling it’s own internal affairs. If we are so weak-kneed about our own system, how can India hope to be an influential world leader ?
Surely there must be ways to determine the complicity or culpability of a person in public domain that too someone part of a prestigious institution. Certainly I am not suggesting ‘speed’ at the cost of ‘justice’ but it should also not degenerate into a farce like a Liberhan report.
The sheer indecisiveness of those who are supposedly our leaders often leaves me enraged. What are these leaders made up of that they cannot decide anything ?
Rajdeep Sardesai wrote in his tweet that in India we believe in “Death by Committee”. Anything that our political bosses cannot decide, they leave it to a Committee. And thus leave the issue in “hibernation”.
Committees have become part of our political eco-system. It is but natural, I would say. After all we have been ruled by Congress for nearly 5 decades whose leaders specialize in passing “single line resolutions” leaving the “decision” to the Congress “High Command”. There can be no better examples of indecisiveness than the process of electing a Chief Minister in a state where congress has returned a majority.
This statement about Committees spring to my mind : Committee is a group of persons who cannot decide anything individually but together decide that they cannot decide anything.
Indian Governance, alas has fallen prey to the evil of indecisiveness.
Despite all the regulations and the legal framework we have, justice still remains a distant dream for the average Indian.
India is in the vice grip of a disease far worse than all the known diseases of the world ; the disease of procrastination.
The procedural wrangles such as the one for impeachment become a convenient excuse to hide the inefficiencies of our decision making ability.
Such a shame for the country but for those affected, it is peach of an opportunity for survival.