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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)’

Who are you? asks the Indian SC

April 15, 2013 1 comment

Who is it that the Indian elittes are closing the doors on? The ‘person on the road’.

In a space of one week (Apr. 3-Apr-8, 2013) three events, proved one thing. Unconnected,  well-covered by the media (specially in Mumbai), these three events had one thing in common.

Power corrupts.

And that is why in Bharattantra, power was dispersed, centralization was frowned upon, society was classified into the chatar varnashrama.

Slavery vs Freedom

In March, 1857.

About 1 month before India went up in flames, against the British Raj, the  Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS) covered itself in infamy. On  March 6, 1857 the US Supreme Court upheld slavery (Dred Scott v. Sanford).

In March 1857, while Indians were preparing to battle the British for freedom and independence, the SCOTUS was busy finding new ways to keep slaves – stooped, shackled and in chains.

In a complex judgement (Dred Scott v. Sanford), on March 6th, 1857, SCOTUS stopped any slave from approaching US courts for justice.

It took another 100 years of protests, assassinations of leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even a Civil War to change rampant discrimination in the US. But, above all, finally an acute shortage of factory labor and soldiers forced the US Government to withdraw its support to entrenched racism.

The SCOTUS just did not stop at slavery.

SCOTUS supported racism (United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923)), segregation by Plessy v. Ferguson 1896. Books have been written, news journals regularly compile their ‘favorite’ lists of Worst 10 SCOTUS judgements.

Unlike the SCOTUS, the Indian SC has not allowed such unjust judgements to escape its portals. The Indian Supreme Court, in its’ short history has been a remarkable body in juridical operations.

But …

“Who are you?” the Chief Justice (Altamas Kabir) asked Swamy, who said he had moved the contempt application. “I am asking you, who are you?” the judge responded. “I am sorry you are not an advocate. You have no right to appear. You have no right to argue. What will happen if any person on the road comes and says I want to argue. You might have done it earlier, but we will not allow you.”

In a nation where “Do you know who I am?” is the ultimate assertion of power, that’s pretty much the mother of all insults. But Kabir wasn’t finished downgrading Swamy. He went on to order him out of the front row, which is “meant for lawyers, not for litigants. You have no right to sit there”.

via Supreme Court smacks down Swamy: “Who are you?” | Firstpost.

Subramaniam Swamy is a powerful politician – and at times he has been brave also. In any dispute between two powerful people, it is best that small people like us keep our distance. But, when Justice Kabir starts on ‘person on the road’ then I am angry.

Outraged.

Furious.

Corruption Is Not Only Bribes

Justice Kabir is not bigger than the ‘person the road.’ No one in this country is. The Biggest Man in this country is the ‘person on the road.’

Many a time corruption is also arrogance, Your Honour.

Of power over the lives of other people. Of being ‘above’ other people. This is probably a deeper form of corruption.

Less condemned, mostly not even recognized.

Image source & courtesy - afternoondc.in on Friday, February 22, 2013

Image source & courtesy – afternoondc.in on Friday, February 22, 2013

More Power Corrupts Even More

Second, was the Ajit Pawar urination disaster.

Under increasing pressure, Maharashtra‘s Deputy Chief Minister cracked.

Ajit Pawar was addressing a public meeting in Indapur tehsil in Pune district on Saturday. Referring to Deshmukh’s ongoing hunger strike, he said, “He is on fast for the last 55 days. If there is no water in the dam, how can we release it? Should we urinate into it? If there is no water to drink, even urination is not possible.”

via Ajit Pawar’s statement blackened face of democracy: Farmer – Mumbai – DNA.

From February 5th, 2013, between 50-400 farmers were on protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan. With increasing industrialization, Maharashtra Government had been prioritizing water for industrial use – depriving vast areas of water for drinking and agricultural purposes.

After days of protests, the government dragged its feet on earlier agreement to release some water for drinking purposes only – and not for agriculture.

With juicy footage looped for the next 24 hours across national television, Ajit Pawar ended up wallowing in his own filth.

MNS activists protest against Ajit Pawar's recent remarks on drought.  |  PTI Photo

MNS activists protest against Ajit Pawar’s recent remarks on drought. | PTI Photo

An apparently remorseful Ajit Pawar decide to go on a 1-day fast in atonement of his callous statement.

The State High Court went further and issued directions to the State Government to release water within 24 hours.

For old hands at the Chief Minister’s beat, this was not unprecedented. In a similar situation, Maharashtra’s earlier Chief Minister, Babasaheb Bhosale had made a similar remark.

Small consolation.

Unlike Babasaheb Bhosale, who got away with his arrogance intact, Ajit Pawar had to eat crow.

Kotak Presidium  |  Image source & courtesy - epaper.timesofindia.com

Kotak Presidium | Image source & courtesy – epaper.timesofindia.com

Three Strikes – You Are Out

Do you visit exclusive showrooms and restaurants?

More sensitive British traders in India labelled their premises as ‘exclusive’.

Who do you think they excluded?

Insensitive British officers went beyond exclusive, and displayed boards that read ‘Indians not allowed’ at various social and business premises.

This third element in the narrative is probably seen by most as harmless – which is why it is so dangerous.

It was a big advertisement by a prominent bank owned by a prominent banker, released in major newspapers like Economic Times, the Mint, etc.

Described as a meeting behind ‘closed doors’, covered by mass-media, it made me ask myself, one question.

The Supreme Court, these gatherings of financial muscle-men, who are these elitists shutting the doors on? Who are they urinating on?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

They are shutting the door on us. Pissing on us.

On us, the ‘person on the road.’



Land Of Fear, Home To The Cowering

April 1, 2013 10 comments

Can a judicial system work, if lawyers are afraid of criticizing the judges? What use is a lawyer who is afraid of a judge?.

Fear Stalks The Land  |  Emotional Flow Chart By Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com  -  5/18/2012 12:00:00 AM

Fear Stalks The Land | Emotional Flow Chart By Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com – 5/18/2012 12:00:00 AM

In the last 6 months, two readers of 2ndlook, from the US, on a visit to India, requested for a meeting with me.

Coming in from the cold

One was a young Indian software engineer, in his twenties, just starting off in his career – and confused. The second was a Brown American techpreneur, around fifty years of age.

The young person requested that no details of his visit and meeting should be written – because he was afraid. Afraid of being a 2ndlook reader. Since 2ndlook blogs are ‘anti-West’ this young man was afraid that he could be trouble in the US, for reading 2ndlook.

The Brown American techpreneur, when confronted on why there is constant dribble of drooling criticism on India replied, ‘I cannot criticize America. Let us face it, I am afraid.’

Both of them were discussing what should be done to ‘help’ India. To the first one, was a simple advice. If you are successful, India is successful.

To the Brown American was again simple advice – ‘Don’t worry about India. We will manage. Very well, without your help.’

Fear is the key

Now the common factor in both cases was the fear. Real palpable fear.

2ndlook having been criticized or being anti-Yummrika, I ignored both these incidents. Since, the role of the Big Brother State has been covered extensively in 2ndlook, these fears are not groundless.

Now read this.

Reacting to a speech by SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia,

“That speech … is unimaginably injudicious,” wrote a lawyer in an e-mail to AlterNet who did not want to be named because he appears in federal court.

via Is Scalia the most vile person in Washington? – Salon.com.

Can you imagine any Indian lawyer not wanting his name in the newspaper or appear on TV – while discussing or criticizing a judgement.

Can a judicial system work, if lawyers are afraid of criticizing the judges? What use is a lawyer who is afraid of a judge?

Lawyers are supposed to take on the judges, the prosecutor from the government and make points for his client – without fear or favor.

Something is indeed rotten in the State of …


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