A Lawless Mind by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (APRIL 08, 2013)

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam’s comments on Narendra Modi’s attempted subversion of the Lokyukta’s autonomy.

Old habits of thought are difficult to shed. Narendrabhai Modi’s by now well-known habit of subverting law and dynamiting constitutional values was once again on display recently when under his leadership the Gujarat assembly cleared the Lokayukta Bill.

This bill provides for a panel of five, headed by the chief minister (and handpicked by him) which will nominate the Lokyukta. This is the height of constitutional impropriety, quite obviously. An autonomous position cannot be subjected to executive control.

Tomorrow who can check the lawless Narendrabhai from trying to bring the governor or chief justice of the state under his control. It is quite clear from his conduct over the years that he has no regard for the law, or fundamental principles like equality before law. Remember his cheeky decision in 2002 to pay Rs. 2 lakh compensation to the kin of the dead of Godhra and Rs. 1 lakh to those killed elsewhere in Gujarat.

He withdrew the orders only after a great uproar created by human rights and civil liberties organisations. His officials seemed to realise that they could get away by breaking law sometimes, but not always. He, too, realised that he could not afford to destroy the principle of equality before law entirely.

Not much later, President Bill Clinton, recently retired from presidency, told an India Today conclave via videoconferencing that India would not grow if it had one policy for Godhra-accused and another for those accused of rioting all over Gujarat. Quite obviously, Narendrabhai would be the last person to understand such niceties.

Imagine such a lawless person becoming prime minister tomorrow. The first thing he would probably like to do is bring the Chief Justice of India, Chief Election Commissioner, Accountant and Auditor General and every other autonomous, constitutional position under the control of PM. Think of what will happen to the checks and balances and diversification of power centres in Modi’s premiership.

How baneful has been his influence on democratic institutions is evident from the fact that the Supreme Court had to transfer riot cases of 2002 out of Gujarat. That cast a poor light on the judiciary in Gujarat. However, it was Narendrabhai who had brought things to this sorry pass.

The victims of the orchestrated riots of 2002 are not the only casualties of Modi rule. Human rights activists were framed in false cases, honest officials refusing to be a part of goonda raj were harassed and humiliated, respected figures like Mallika Sarabhai were trapped tin false cases for standing up for rule of law and justice.

Think it over seriously. Are you still prepared to allow this habitual law breaker to become the Prime Minister of India and create chaos and anarchy from one end of the country to the other?

 

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